‘Thanksgiving’ Serves Up No. 1 Debut on Disc Sales Charts

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Thanksgiving debuted at No. 1 on the Circana VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart the week ended Feb. 3.

Director Eli Roth’s horror film, which is based upon his fake trailer of the same name from the 2007 film Grindhouse, follows a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer who terrorizes Plymouth, Mass., following a Black Friday riot. The film earned $31.9 million at the domestic box office.

Blu-ray Disc accounted for 62% of first-week Thanksgiving sales. It was not released on 4K Ultra HD disc.

No. 2 on both charts was Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Trolls Band Together, which had been No. 1 the previous two weeks. However, it might have remained on top for a third week had more shoppers opted to buy it on its own than part of the “Trolls” three-movie collection, which was No. 10. Trolls Band Together sold 83% as many copies as the top title, while the three-pack sold 19.5%, which means discs containing Trolls Band Together outsold any other title by about 3%.

Dropping to No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart, was Universal Pictures’ Oppenheimer, in its 11th week on shelves. However, it remained No. 1 on the dedicated 4K chart for an 11th consecutive week.

Trolls Band Together was No. 9 on the 4K chart.

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Disney-owned Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny remained No. 4 on the overall sales chart but fell to No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart.

Another newcomer, Lionsgate’s Silent Night, debuted at No. 5 overall and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart (as it was released solely as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack). The action-thriller stars Joel Kinnaman as a tormented father who sets out on a mission of vengeance when his son is killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 2-3-24
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray and 4K Discs for Week Ended 2-3-24
Top HD Formats Disc Share Per Title for Week Ended 2-3-24
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 2-5-24

Max Offers Early $2.99 Monthly Black Friday Streaming Deal

Warner Bros. Discovery Nov. 20 announced a special Black Friday deal for new and returning subscribers to Max. The Max With Ads plan is now available for $2.99 per month for the first six months, down from $9.99 per month. The offer is available through Nov. 27.

The Bleacher Report (B/R) Sports Add-On, featuring access to a slate of live sports events from MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA Men’s March Madness, and U.S Soccer events, among others, is also available. Access to the B/R Sports Add-On is subject to change during the Black Friday promotional period. CNN Max, the 24/7 streaming news is also included.

The promotional offer will roll out for new and existing customers via Max.com, Apple TV, Google Play and Roku and for new Max customers only on Amazon Fire.

Special Thanksgiving content Max includes “Loony Tunes Presents: Bugs & Daffy’s Thanksgiving Road Trip,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Spectacular,” “Thanksgiving Grubdown,” “Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge,” and classic Thanksgiving episodes from series “Friends,” “Sesame Street,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and “South Park,” among other series.

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Max parent Warner Bros. Discovery reported a loss of 700,000 subscribers in the most-recent fiscal quarter compared with the second quarter ended June 30. WBD ended the period with 95.1 million combined subs, down from 95.8 million at the end of Q2 ended June 30, but up 100,000 subs from 95 million at the end of Q3 2022.

Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu Marketing for the Holidays

Fandango and its Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu sites are marketing for the holidays.

Rotten Tomatoes has created curated watchlists, such as 60 Best Thanksgiving Movies (including Planes, Trains and Automobiles and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) and 100 Best Christmas Movies of All Time (including Home Alone and Love Actually).

Meanwhile parent company and movie ticketing site Fandango and Vudu, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, are offering holiday-themed gift cards for titles in theaters and at home.

Vudu is also featuring deals on titles and collections of holiday favorites across Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as round-ups of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies.

Rotten Tomatoes’ 2023 Holiday Movie Preview also offers a breakdown of what it considers the best flicks that November and December have to offer, including The Marvels, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Wonka, which were named the top three most-anticipated wide releases of the holiday season, respectively, per Fandango’s 2023 Most Anticipated Holiday Movie Survey.

Rotten Tomatoes is also listing Rotten Christmas Movies We Love, the Best International Christmas Movies and Modern Christmas Classics to Add to Your Holiday Movie List.

Also available is a party game Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game.

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NRF: Record 166.3 Million Shoppers Expected During Thanksgiving Weekend — 33% Eyeing Packaged-Media Gifts

An estimated 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) through Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) this year, according to the annual survey released Nov. 17 by the National Retail Federation.

The tally is almost 8 million more people than last year and is the highest estimate since NRF began tracking Thanksgiving Day weekend data in 2017.

“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” Matthew Shay, CEO of NRF, said in a statement.

The top five gift categories consumers plan to give are clothing (55%), followed by gift cards at 45%, toys at 37%, packaged media at 33% and food/candy at 31%.

According to the survey of 7,719 adult consumers conducted Nov. 1-8, more than two-thirds (69%) of holiday consumers plan to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend. The top reasons cited include deals too good to pass up (59%), because of tradition (27%) or because it is something to do (22%) over the holiday.

Black Friday (Nov. 25) continues to be the most popular day to shop, with 69% (114.9 million) planning to shop then, followed by 38% (63.9 million) on Cyber Monday. Among the 114.9 million Black Friday shoppers, 67% say they expect to head to stores, up from 64% in 2021.

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Online search (43%) remains the most popular source of gift inspiration, followed by friends and family (35%) and within a retail store (31%).

Similar to 2020 and 2021, this year 60% of holiday shoppers had started browsing and buying for the season as of early November. This consumer trend of earlier shopping was accelerated by the pandemic. In 2019, 56% of holiday shoppers had started their shopping around this time.

NRF forecast earlier this month that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. Last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5% over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion, shattering previous records. Holiday retail sales have averaged an increase of 4.9% over the past 10 years, with pandemic spending in recent years accounting for considerable gains.

“We are optimistic that retail sales will remain strong in the weeks ahead, and retailers are ready to meet consumers however they want to shop with great products at prices they want to pay,” Shay said in a statement.

Netflix Creating Feature About Viral Story of Thanksgiving Text

Netflix is producing a feature film based on the true story that went viral about a Thanksgiving text between two strangers.

The film will be based on the story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench, who met after Wanda accidentally texted Hinton instead of her grandson, inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner. When Hinton, a senior in high school, accepted the invitation anyway, they formed a deep friendship despite their very different backgrounds.

Dench and Hinton have spent each Thanksgiving together since 2016.

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“We are excited to share our story with the world,” Dench and Hinton said in a statement. “We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn’t ordinarily make. We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message.”

‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ Arriving in Blu-ray Steelbook Nov. 23

The Thanksgiving comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, written and directed by  John Hughes, will arrive Nov. 23 in a limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, the 1987 classic follows a businessman (Martin) who is struggling to get home for Thanksgiving, but burdened by one travel mishap after another, as well as the company of an annoying traveling salesman (Candy). The film also features appearances by Michael McKean, Edie McClurg and Kevin Bacon.

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The release includes more than an hour of legacy bonus content, including an in-depth retrospective on John Hughes’ career that includes interviews with those who worked with him and explores his indelible impact as a writer and filmmaker. Additional previously released features include “Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “John Hughes for Adults,” a tribute to John Candy, and a deleted scene.

NRF: Movie DVDs Among Top-Selling Thanksgiving Weekend Sales Items; Shopping Traffic Down Slightly

An estimated 186.4 million consumers took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend price discounts and shopped in-store and online this year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

After toys, books, music, movie DVDs, video games (29%), gift cards/certificates (29%) and electronics (27%) ranked among top-selling items, according to a survey of 6,615 adult consumers conducted Nov. 25-30 .

While the overall number of shoppers from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday dropped slightly from 189.6 million in an unusually robust 2019, this figure is still significantly higher than the 165.8 million shoppers in 2018.

“As expected, consumers have embraced an earlier start to the holiday shopping season, but many were also prepared to embrace a long-standing tradition of turning out online and in stores over Thanksgiving weekend to make gift purchases for family and friends,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Black Friday and Saturday saw strong growth in online activity. For the first time, the number of online Black Friday shoppers passed the 100 million mark, up 8% over last year. The number of online Saturday shoppers grew even more, up 17% compared with last year. Online-only shoppers increased by 44% for the entire weekend, for a total of 95.7 million.

With retailers enticing consumers with generous deals as early as October, more than half (52%) of holiday shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales and promotions this year. Of those, 38 percent said they checked off holiday purchases in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. More than half (53%) felt the promotions over the weekend were the same as they had been earlier in the season.

As expected, in-store shopping was down given both the state of the pandemic as well as the number of retailers who opted to close on Thanksgiving Day. With consumer traffic moving to online channels, the number of in-store shoppers on Thanksgiving Day dropped by 55% from last year and those on Black Friday dropped by 37%. An earlier NRF survey found that a large majority (70%) of holiday shoppers say they feel safe shopping in stores this holiday season given the precautions retailers have taken for COVID-19.

Over the five-day period, shoppers spent an average of $311.75 on holiday-related purchases such as gifts or decorations, down from last year’s total of $361.90 but comparable to 2018’s $313.29. Of that amount, nearly three-quarters ($224.48) was spent directly on gifts.

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Consumers have continued to stress the importance of holidays throughout this year. In fact, the majority of holiday shoppers (55%) said recent developments around COVID-19 cases had no impact on their holiday spending plans this year. Most (51%) also feel that given the pandemic, they are more interested in holiday decorations and seasonal items. They were also eager to support small businesses, as 77% indicated they were more interested in doing so this year.

“The growth in online activity this year was significant, particularly for Black Friday and Saturday shoppers,” said Phil Rist, EVP of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics. “With the start to the holiday shopping season continuing to move up even earlier, consumers will further utilize these channels.”

Shopping destinations included department stores (visited by 40% of those surveyed), grocery stores (39%), clothing stores (33%) and electronics stores (31%).

Although consumers have embraced the earlier start to the holiday shopping season, their lists are not quite complete. Holiday shoppers have about half of their shopping left to do and 91% expect they will continue to see great deals throughout the rest of the season.

NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that sales will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019 to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. Over the 2020 holiday season, NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, will increase between 20% and 30%. In total consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families this year, according to NRF’s annual survey released in October.

Hulu Bowing $1.99 Monthly Promo at Midnight on Thanksgiving Through Cyber Monday

Hulu is set to launch a discounted $1.99 monthly promotion at midnight on Thanksgiving. The campaign pledges to give new and returning subscribers 12-month access to the ad-supported Hulu option, which amounts to a $48 savings over the recently reduced $5.99 monthly fee (from $7.99). The ad-free subscription plan remains priced at $11.99 monthly.

Hulu added 6.9 million subs to reach 32.5 million subs through Sept. 30 — up 27% from the previous-year period.

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Hulu’s ad-supported plan gives subscribers access to Hulu’s streaming TV library of shows such as “Family Guy,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Golden Girls,” films like Trolls World Tour and Hulu Originals, including “Pen15,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Ramy,” “Animaniacs” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” for a more than 66% savings compared the cost of a regular subscription.

New or returning subs can sign up for the limited time offer through 11:59 p.m. PT on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) at Hulu.com. Disney, which owns Hulu, is also marketing the ad-supported option with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99 monthly.

 

Report: ‘Friends’ Most-Watched TV Show Over Thanksgiving Weekend

In addition to football, TV show re-runs dominate viewer interest around the Thanksgiving holiday, according to new data from USDish, a reseller of Dish Network. While movies dominate around Christmas, TV show episodes rank high among viewers over Thanksgiving, with “Friends” the most popular TV show. Of the 15 TV show episodes that ranked most-popular, 10 were “Friends” episodes.

In compiling its data, USDish analyzed the top 15 holiday episodes for each holiday using IMDb data. To qualify, each episode had to meet the following criteria: Contain the keywords “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” or “New Year’s Eve,” respectively; be produced between 1990 and 2020; have more than 1,500 IMDb votes; and achieve a rating of 7.5 and above.

“Once we narrowed down our search, we found each episode’s viewership count using the viewership archive on TV Listings,” wrote Travis Peterson, author of the study. “Then we ranked each episode from most popular to least-popular based on viewership.”

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To find the most-searched TV show in each state for November, December and January, respectively, USDish analyzed Google Trends data.

The study found that comedy and romance are hits around Thanksgiving, with more than 93% of the top episodes categorized as comedy. Thirteen out of the 15 TV episodes (87%) are also categorized as romance.

Apparently Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a little throwback TV. Seven out of the top 15 episodes aired in the ’90s, while six aired in the 2000s. The average running time of all episodes on the list is 24 minutes.

 

‘Knives Out,’ ‘Home Alone,’ ‘Die Hard’ Top Fandango Holiday Film Survey

Knives Out was voted the top movie to watch for Thanksgiving, Home Alone was voted the favorite family-friendly holiday film, and Die Hard was named the top unconventional holiday film by fans on Fandango’s transactional video on-demand services, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Fandango surveyed more than 1,000 film fans in the first weeks of November.

As might be expected, 92% of those surveyed expect to watch more movies at home during the holiday season than in previous years. Also, 71% said they are planning to binge watch during the holiday season, and 62% said they plan to watch their favorite holiday classics more than once.

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“Watching a favorite classic movie is part of a beloved holiday tradition for many families,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “This year there’s an extra nostalgia factor because many of us cannot gather together in front of the same screen. The top picks center on the power of families, warts and all, and serve as the kind of cinematic comfort food we look forward to enjoying during the holiday season.”

Top Movies to Watch for Thanksgiving:

  1. Knives Out
  2. Addams Family Values
  3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  4. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  5. Home for the Holidays
  6. Grumpy Old Men
  7. Free Birds
  8. Scent of a Woman
  9. Pieces of April
  10. The Oath

 

Favorite Family-Friendly Holiday Movies

  1. Home Alone
  2. Elf
  3. The Santa Clause
  4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  5. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  7. The Polar Express
  8. A Christmas Story
  9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  10. It’s a Wonderful Life

 

Favorite Unconventional Holiday Movies:

  1. Die Hard
  2. Edward Scissorhands
  3. Gremlins
  4. Bad Moms Christmas
  5. Bad Santa
  6. Krampus
  7. Office Christmas Party
  8. The Night Before
  9. Trading Places
  10. Anna and the Apocalypse

 

Favorite Performances as Santa Claus:

  1. Tim Allen, The Santa Clause
  2. Edward Asner, Elf
  3. Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa
  4. Tom Hanks, The Polar Express
  5. James Cosmo, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
  6. Richard Attenborough, Miracle on 34thStreet (1994)
  7. Paul Giamatti, Fred Claus
  8. Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  9. Rickey Smiley, The Friday After Next
  10. Alec Baldwin, Rise of the Guardians

 

Favorite Holiday Movie Villains:

  1. Harry & Marv (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern), Home Alone
  2. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), Die Hard
  3. Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), It’s a Wonderful Life
  4. The Grinch (Jim Carrey), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  5. Oogie Boogie (Ken Ross), The Nightmare Before Christmas
  6. Frank Cross (Bill Murray), Scrooged
  7. Scrooge (Jim Carey), Disney’s A Christmas Carol
  8. Fulton Greenway (Michael Lerner), Elf
  9. Ted Maltin (Phil Hartman), Jingle All the Way
  10. Scut Farkas (Zack Ward), A Christmas Story

 

The winners can also be found in the holiday sections on Vudu and FandangoNow.