Season 25 of ‘South Park’ Arriving on Blu-ray and DVD April 4

Paramount Home Entertainment will release South Park: The Complete Twenty-Fifth Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD April 4.

The collection includes the six episodes of the animated series that aired on Comedy Central in 2022: “Pajama Day,” “The Big Fix,” “City People,” “Back to the Cold War,” “Help, My Teenager Hates Me!” and “Credigree Weed St. Patrick’s Day Special.”

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This Week’s Podcast: ‘Dual,’ ‘South Park’ Reviews; Weekend Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover the sleeper sci-fi film Dual, starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul. Gillan plays two parts simultaneously, the protagonist of the movie and the clone of said protagonist. It’s an interesting premise that didn’t get much attention when it was originally released. Following up is a review of both parts of South Park: The Streaming Wars, which touches (or beats the viewer over the head with) the absurdity of studios creating content for multiple streaming platforms. In typical South Park fashion, it’s done in hilarious and creative ways. (Both reviews are written by John Latchem.)
 
Lastly, in the weekend box office numbers, Jordan Peele’s third film, Nope, debuted in the No. 1 spot, the first film to unseat Thor: Love and Thunder as the weekend’s top grossing feature
 
Keep an eye on the podcast feed for our upcoming special report from 2022’s Comic-Con!

South Park: The Streaming Wars (Parts 1 & 2)

STREAMING REVIEW:

Paramount+;
Animated Comedy;
Not rated;
Voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, April Stewart, Kimberly Brooks, Adrien Beard, Vernon Chatman.

This latest pair of “South Park” specials brings to bear many of its ongoing story threads and characters in a precision take-down of the economics of the modern entertainment ecosystem.

In particular, series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone hit upon a metaphor so obvious that it’s impossible not to understand exactly what their message is: There are so many streaming services that the need for quantity is destroying quality.

But that’s just the meta-humor that’s baked into “South Park.” The story, dialogue and characters are still outrageously funny on their own merits. For instance, Cartman’s mom refuses to get fake breast implants to attract a rich husband, so out of spite Cartman gets the implants himself.

Even this bizarre-sounding subplot still manages to tie into the main story, which has always been the genius of this franchise. Referring to “South Park” as a franchise instead of just a series is now a necessity for reasons we’ll get into later that speak to why these “Streaming Wars” specials even exist.

The story involves a drought hitting the town of South Park, caused by Matt and Trey’s physical representation of climate change, ManBearPig. Distribution of the remaining water is given priority to agriculture, which benefits rival pot farmers Randy Marsh and Steve Black, who decide to sell some of their water back to the town on a subscription basis. Their scheme is legal so long as they can prove water from their farm reaches the city’s reservoir, so they hire the local kids to build paper boats as the content to float down the stream. As the idea of subscription streaming becomes more popular, the same group of kids is hired again and again to build boats for all of them, thus leading to their boats competing with themselves, though the money is too much to pass up.

Later, when the scheme collapses, they are asked why they didn’t give the money back to the other streamers once they agreed to a bigger deal from another.

This is, of course, nearly a direct reference to Matt and Trey’s own experience with streaming services of the digital kind. HBO Max paid $500 million for the rights to the “South Park” episode catalog as well as next-day availability of episodes from the next few seasons after they air on Comedy Central. “South Park” is a prime commodity in the Paramount stable, but this deal was made before the various entities that can now be lumped under the Paramount moniker knew what they were doing with streaming, more interested in the quick cash of selling its catalog than cashing in with its own streaming service.

So, when Paramount finally had its own streaming service, it didn’t even have streaming rights to many of its lucrative properties.

With HBO Max reaping the benefits of the “South Park” pandemic specials, Paramount sought a way back into the “South Park” streaming game, paying $900 million for a series of “South Park” movies that wouldn’t count as part of the seasons, thus providing an end-around to the HBO Max deal.

And Matt and Trey found themselves creating the same content for rival streaming services, essentially competing against themselves, just like the kids in the movie.

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That these “movies” are less than an hour long, essentially the same as two episodes or the specials HBO Max was getting, only hammers home the absurdity of the deals, assuming Matt and Trey aren’t just making regular two-hour movies and chopping them in half to meet their obligations to the number of total movies they have to make by using less content to do so.

Both parts of “Streaming Wars” are the third of fourth of these movies, following the two halves of “Post COVID.” That all the specials and movies and new episodes continue to push the same storylines across multiple streaming services only adds to the confusion.

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The second part of “Streaming Wars” delves into a conspiracy involving PiPi’s Water Park and its urine-drenched attractions controlling all the water, representing the endgame of the same people making the same type of stuff for multiple streaming services to just compete against each other with it. This installment is also pretty vicious toward celebrities selling out to endorse anything, particularly crypto currency.

It also brings Randy’s seasons-long story arcs full circle as “South Park” pokes fun at itself for giving him such outlandish adventures.

In any event, “South Park” in all its forms remains as biting as it did when it premiered 25 years ago, and proves it still has plenty to say, which bodes well for future installments to appear on whichever streaming service Matt and Trey want to honor their contract for next.

‘South Park,’ ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ Moving Exclusively to Paramount+; Studio Ups Q4 Licensing/Other Revenue

Erstwhile ViacomCBS (i.e., Paramount) Feb. 15 announced that two major original properties, Comedy Central’s “South Park,” and Beavis and Butt Head” are moving exclusively to the Paramount+ streaming service.

“South Park,” which is now exclusively distributed via HBO Max through 2024, will move to the streamer in the U.S. in 2025, according to Chris McCarthy, Paramount’s chief content officer, who made the announcement on the ViacomCBS Investors Event. All 310 episodes of the “South Park” catalog will be made available on Paramount+ overseas beginning later this year. Additionally, “South Park” season 27 will begin rolling out on Paramount+ globally in 2024.

The 25th season of the venerable series currently airs on Comedy Central. Separately, the pending “Beavis and Butt-Head” movie has an official name. Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe is the first branded feature film since Beavis and Butthead Do America hit theaters in 1996. The brand’s 200 episodes also are heading to Paramount+.

Officially described as “perhaps the dumbest space movie ever made,” Do the Universe takes place in 1998, and finds the underachieving sophomoric heroes sentenced by a judge to detention in a Space Camp, where they end up — of course — on the Space Shuttle.

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“‘South Park’ and ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ are two of the most successful and widely known adult-animation IP in the history of the genre, and I am thrilled that Paramount+ will be their exclusive new SVOD home,” McCarthy said. “By expanding the universe of these franchises, we are unlocking significant value within ViacomCBS’s treasure chest of IP, and this is just the beginning.”

The company announced today that Paramount+ will make its debut in France as an exclusive bundle with CANAL+ Group, giving subscribers immediate access to French consumers through the country’s largest provider. Paramount+ will also be available on an a la carte and direct-to-consumer basis in the French market.

“We’re continuing to leverage our global footprint and long-standing relationships to expand Paramount+ into new markets with enormous potential quickly and economically,” said Tom Ryan, CEO of streaming.

With Paramount+ and SkyShowtime (which is co-owned by Comcast), the company will have streaming services available in more than 60 markets across the U.K., Latin America, Canada, Australia, South Korea, the Caribbean and all major markets in Europe by the end of this year. In 2023, the company will look to Asia, Africa and the Middle East to grow its streaming presence in every region of the world.

Meanwhile, Paramount announced it generated $787 million in fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2021) “licensing and other” revenue from its motion pictures, up 54% from revenue of $510 million in the prior year quarter. Revenue for the fiscal year increased 19% to $2.8 billion, from $2.4 billion last year.

Licensing and other revenue was driven by a higher volume of licensing, including to our owned streaming services and from the comparison against the impact in 2020 from Covid-related production shutdowns.

Paramount, like other studios, no longer calls out home entertainment sales of packaged and digital media separately. The segment is now included in the studio’s licensing business.

Finally, theatrical ticket sales topped $39 million in the quarter, compared with $4 million in the previous-year period. For the year, theatrical revenue increased 34% to $241 million, from $180 million in 2020.

Theatrical revenue included the fourth-quarter release of Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the third quarter release of Paw Patrol: The Movie, while the prior-year period was impacted by the closure or reduced capacity of movie theaters in response to COVID.

Paramount+ Bowing First Exclusive ‘South Park’ Special on Thanksgiving

ViacomCBS subscription streaming service Paramount+ will debut its first exclusive animated “South Park” special on Thanksgiving. South Park: Post COVID is the first of 14 specials (the second debuts in December) earmarked for the streamer as part of a one-off distribution deal with series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

That’s because the first 24 seasons of the long-running comedy series are licensed to rival streamer HBO Max as part of ViacomCBS’s $500 million deal with WarnerMedia affording the latter next-day access to all new and catalog “South Park” episodes — including the future 25th and 26th seasons. The series is broadcast on ViacomCBS’s Comedy Central cable channel.

This past August, Stone and Parker inked a separate $900 million deal with ViacomCBS for so-called “South Park” specials streaming exclusively on Paramount+.

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“Bringing that [South Park] fandom over to Paramount+ will be very exciting for us,” Tanya Giles, chief programming officer of ViacomCBS Streaming, told media at the Television Critics Association’s 2021 Tour.

Giles said the agreement is to give Stone and Parker the opportunity to take the “South Park” characters and storylines in different directions. Indeed, “South Park: Post COVID” takes place nearly 40 years in the future with the show’s characters contemplating middle age and worse.

“The ability to do that at Paramount+ in a made-for-streaming movie format was just a different opportunity for them that they hadn’t considered, but they jumped in and they brought us the idea of having these longer stories to tell,” Giles said.

The specials come as Paramount+ attempts to broaden its subscriber base in the U.S. and abroad — the latter via distribution deals with Comcast’s European Sky satellite operator in 2022.

ViacomCBS said Paramount+ added 1 million sign-ups in the past week, due in part to the streamer’s debut of drama series “Mayor of Kingstown,” and concurrent theatrical/streaming access to Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog.

ViacomCBS ended the most-recent fiscal period with 47 million streaming subscribers, which includes Paramount+, Showtime OTT, Noggin and other platforms.

‘South Park’ Creators Sign Deal to Make Movies for Paramount+

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of “South Park,” have signed a deal with ViacomCBS for new seasons of the long-running animated series and 14 new movies based on it.

The deal, reportedly worth $900 million, runs through 2027, extending “South Park” on Comedy Central through season 30. The new movies will debut twice a year, starting this year, exclusively on Paramount+.

The move effectively splits the “South Park” franchise IP between two rival streaming services. In 2019 the show’s production house, South Park Studios, a joint venture between ViacomCBS, Parker and Stone, chose to sell streaming rights to the previous 23 seasons to HBO Max for $500 million rather than save the series for CBS All Access, which was re-branded as Paramount+ in 2021. The multiyear HBO Max deal, which runs through the 26th season, also includes next-day access to episodes after they debut on Comedy Central, the cable channel that has been home to “South Park” since it premiered in 1997.

The show, famous for its topicality as episodes can be produced in less than a week, has been on a relative hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, though has released two hourlong specials that are available on HBO Max.

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‘South Park: The Pandemic Special’ Tops Newcomers on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart; ‘Ava’ Remains No. 1

Comedy Central’s South Park: The Pandemic Special was the top new release on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart, coming in at No. 13 the week ended Oct. 3.

The standalone hourlong special, which satirizes society’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, aired Sept. 30 on Comedy Central and became available on HBO Max and other online sources the next day. The special is technically the start of the show’s 24th season, although additional episodes have not yet been scheduled.

The No. 1 title on the chart for a second consecutive week was Ava, a thriller from Vertical Entertainment that stars Jessica Chastain as an assassin. The movie is also available to rent on disc exclusively from Redbox. However, the Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, does not account for rental data.

The rest of the top 20 wasn’t much different from the previous week.

No. 2 was Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, which moved up one spot from the previous week.

The three seasons of Paramount’s drama series “Yellowstone” continued to occupy the top 10, with the third season at No. 3, the first season at No. 5, and the second season at No. 6.

No. 4 was Disney’s Hocus Pocus, climbing eight spots as Halloween-themed titles begin to assert themselves during October. Always a top seller around Halloween time, the 1993 film about three Salem witches who are resurrected in modern times was given a boost this year by a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray re-release.

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Likewise, Warner’s 1988 spooky comedy Beetlejuice returned to the list at No. 11 after a few weeks off the list, which it was on a few weeks ago after its own 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release.

And Disney’s 1993 animated fantasy The Nightmare Before Christmas joined the list for the first time at No. 16.

  1. Ava (Vertical)
  2. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  6. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  7. Alone (Magnolia)
  8. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. Rick and Morty: Season 4 (Warner)
  10. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  11. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  12. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  13. South Park: The Pandemic Special (Paramount/Comedy Central)
  14. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (Lionsgate)
  15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
  16. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney)
  17. Outlander: Season 5 (Sony Pictures)
  18. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  19. The Silencing (Lionsgate)
  20. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)

 

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 Oct. 3.

‘South Park’ 23rd Season on Disc June 23

Paramount Home Entertainment will release South Park: Season 23  on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 23.

The uncensored collector’s edition features the 300th episode of the series. This season the “South Park” characters explore the wonders of the human biome, tackle the consequences of immigration and get banned in China.

The Blu-ray will include #SocialCommentary with fun trivia and behind-the-scenes tidbits on each episode.

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“South Park”

‘South Park’ Coming to HBO Max in June 2020

HBO Max, the upcoming streaming platform from WarnerMedia set to launch in May 2020, has secured exclusive streaming rights in the U.S. to Comedy Central’s “South Park.”

The multiyear licensing deal was completed with South Park Digital Studios, a joint venture between Viacom and “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. All 23 seasons of Parker and Stone’s award-winning animated satire will become available exclusively on the streamer in June 2020 followed by three new seasons, which will debut on HBO Max 24 hours after each episode premieres on Comedy Central.

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“‘South Park’ is unequivocally among the best — setting the satirical gold standard, with a consistent finger on the comedy pulse,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TBS, TNT, and TruTV. “Audiences have connected with Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny — either alive or dead — for over 20 years, and we look forward to connecting these characters to new audiences on HBO Max.”

For the past six years, “South Park” has been the No. 1 primetime cable comedy among young adults, garnering 44 million viewers on cable last year alone. Since premiering in 1997, “South Park” has earned 19 Emmy Award nominations, five Emmy wins and a Peabody Award.

A Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter recently reported that Viacom and the “South Park” creators were poised to reap between $450 million and $500 million by selling the streaming rights to the irreverent animated series.

Report: ‘South Park’ Creators and Viacom Poised to Reap Half a Billion for Streaming Rights

“South Park” creators and Viacom could reap between $450 million and $500 million by selling the streaming rights to the irreverent animated series, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter.

The news outlet reported that as many as a half dozen companies are bidding for exclusive U.S. streaming rights to past episodes of the show, according to the sources.

The show has recently been available on Hulu, now controlled by Disney.

Viacom and “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone hope to ink a new deal by the end of 2019 with a decision on the winner that could come as soon as this weekend, said the anonymous sources.

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Past seasons of popular TV shows have been a hot commodity as the number of streaming services have proliferated, with such shows as “The Office” and “Friends” set to move from Netflix to Comcast’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, respectively, for eye-popping prices. For its part, Netflix just picked up worldwide rights for “Seinfeld” for a half billion.

“South Park” is the longest-running show on Viacom’s Comedy Central and has been renewed for another three seasons.