‘Lion King’ Roars Atop Disc Sales Chart for Second Week

Without much in the way of new competition, Disney’s live-action-style The Lion King remake easily held onto the top spot on the home video sales chart for a second straight week.

Likewise, Disney’s Toy Story 4 held onto the No. 2 spot 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 Nov. 2.

A third Disney title, the perennial Halloween favorite Hocus Pocus from 1993, was No. 3 on the overall sales chart and No. 7 on the Blu-ray Disc chart. With the end of the Halloween season, however, Hocus Pocus will likely fade from the charts until next year.

The No. 4 overall seller and No. 3 on the Blu-ray list was Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home.

No. 5 on the overall sales chart (and No. 11 on the Blu-ray Chart), was yet another Disney title from 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

With the latest “Spider-Man” sequel being co-produced with Marvel Studios, that means Disney had a hand in the top five titles for the week.

The No. 5 Blu-ray seller was Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, which was the No. 7 overall seller.

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The top new release for the week was Warner’s limited-edition Blu-ray boxed set of Batman Beyond: The Complete Series, at No. 12 overall and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart. The newest disc release of the 1999-2001 animated series offers most of the episodes remastered in high-definition for the first time.

Warner’s The Wizard of Oz jumped back into the top 10 at No. 9 on both charts thanks to the newly released 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition of the film. The Ultra HD edition accounted for 50% of the film’s unit sales for the week.

The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 3 had The Lion King at No. 1 again, with Toy Story 4 maintaining the No. 2 spot.

The Redbox-exclusive thriller Running With the Devil, one of the first major new releases under the kiosk operator’s new content and production initiative, debuted at No. 3. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne as drug traffickers investigating why their boss’ cocaine shipments are being hijacked.

Fox’s Stuber dropped to No. 4, while Disney’s Aladdin remake was No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-2-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-3-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-2-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-2-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-2-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-4-19

‘Lion King’ Still Reigns on Redbox Disc Rental Chart

Disney’s The Lion King remake remained No. 1 on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended Nov. 3. The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

Disney’s Toy Story 4 stayed in the No. 2 spot.

The No. 3 disc rental was Redbox Entertainment’s own Running With the Devil, which stars Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne as drug traffickers investigating why their boss’ cocaine shipments are being hijacked.

Stuber, from 20th Century Fox, slid to No. 4 on the disc rental chart and dropped to No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The No. 5 disc rental was Disney’s Aladdin remake.

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home slid to No. 7 on the disc chart but rose to No. 1 on the digital chart.

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Paramount’s Crawl remained No. 3 on the On Demand chart and was the No. 6 disc rental.

Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 rose to No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

Warner’s Annabelle Comes Home held the No. 5 spot on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Nov. 3:

  1. The Lion King — Disney
  2. Toy Story 4 — Disney
  3. Running With the Devil — Redbox
  4. Stuber — Fox
  5. Aladdin (2019) — Disney
  6. Crawl — Paramount
  7. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  8. 10 Minutes Gone — Lionsgate
  9. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  10. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Nov. 3:

  1. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  2. Stuber — Fox
  3. Crawl — Paramount
  4. The Secret Life of Pets 2 — Universal
  5. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  6. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  7. The Intruder — Sony Pictures
  8. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  9. The Hustle — MGM
  10. Yesterday — Universal

‘Lion King’ Remake Reigns Atop Disc Sales Charts

Disney’s live-action-style remake of The Lion King 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 Oct. 26.

The film, which used advanced CGI to re-create the 1994 animated classic with photorealistic animals, earned $543.2 million at the domestic box office, the No. 2 earner for the year behind Avengers: Endgame.

Another Disney movie, Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story 4, dropped to No. 2 for the week after spending two weeks in the top spot on both charts.

No. 3 on the overall sales chart (No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart) was Disney’s perennial Halloween favorite Hocus Pocus.

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Liongate’s 3 From Hell slipped to No. 4 on the overall sales chart and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart.

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man; Far From Home was No. 5 on the overall sales chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

Debuting as the No. 3 Blu-ray (No. 7 overall) was Warner’s Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, a direct-to-video animated movie.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 79% of first-week Lion King sales, with 9% of its total coming from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 27, Lion King was No. 1, with Toy Story 4 slipping to No. 2.

Fox’s Stuber slid a spot to No. 3, followed by Paramount’s Crawl at No. 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-26-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-27-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-26-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-26-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 10-26-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 10-28-19

‘Lion King’ Rises Over Redbox Disc Rentals, ‘Stuber’ Remains On Demand No. 1

Disney’s The Lion King remake took over the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended Oct. 27. The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

The live-action-style version of the animated classic earned $543.2 million at the domestic box office.

Disney’s Toy Story 4, which was the top title the previous week, in its third week slipped back to No. 2, where it had debuted two weeks prior.

Stuber, from 20th Century Fox, slid to No. 3 on the disc rental chart but remained No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The No. 4 disc rental was Paramount’s Crawl, which was No. 3 on the On Demand chart.

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home slid to No. 5 on the disc chart but rose to No. 2 on the digital chart.

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Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum stayed No. 8 on the rental chart and rose to No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

Warner’s Annabelle Comes Home slipped to No. 7 on the disc chart and No. 5 on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Oct. 27:

  1. The Lion King — Disney
  2. Toy Story 4 — Disney
  3. Stuber — Fox
  4. Crawl — Paramount
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  6. Aladdin (2019) — Disney
  7. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  8. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  9. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  10. 3 From Hell — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Oct. 27:

  1. Stuber — Fox
  2. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  3. Crawl — Paramount
  4. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  5. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  6. Yesterday — Universal
  7. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  8. The Secret Life of Pets 2 — Universal
  9. Ma — Universal
  10. The Hustle — MGM

The Lion King (2019)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Disney;
Family;
Box Office $543.2 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements.
Voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones.

Director Jon Favreau’s new version of The Lion King stands as both a zenith for Disney’s live-action remakes as well as something of a nadir.

As a re-creation of the 1994 animated classic in a live-action style, the film represents a pinnacle of visual effects to simulate photorealistic environments and animals.

On the flip side, the film doesn’t really strive to be anything more than a nearly shot-for-shot remake of the animated film, with mostly the same dialogue and songs as before. As such, it comes across as the most striking example that, from a creative standpoint, there isn’t much of a reason for Disney to produce these remakes other than because it can (and the box office results are certainly proving the merits of those decisions).

Like many of Disney’s live-action remakes, it’s a competent cover version of one of the studio’s popular musicals, so it will always have that watchability factor. The stunning visuals, cute animals and rousing songs will make it as enjoyable for kids today as the original was for its generation of youngsters. But anyone already familiar with the animated version (i.e., the parents of the kids seeing it with fresh eyes) will be hard pressed to see it as more than a curio.

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To my mind, the conversion to the live-action template actually dampens the impact of the story (famously inspired by Hamlet) of young lion Simba growing up in exile after the death of his father, only to return to challenge his uncle, Scar, for leadership of the Pridelands.

As a cartoon, the artistic reality makes it easier to accept the concept of the animals talking and singing. But with a photorealistic setting, the illusion that this is somehow taking place somewhere takes a bit of a hit.

A bolder creative direction might have been to step back from the idea of a strict remake and instead pay a bit of homage to the studio’s cinematic past by styling the film more like one of Disney’s “True-Life Adventures” nature documentaries from the 1950s. Instead of the animals talking and singing, a narrator would explain the story and who the various characters are as they go about their business. The classic songs could even be played as part of the soundtrack over the action, as a few already are (such as “Circle of Life”). Strictly speaking, there really isn’t anything stopping a version like this from being made with the film as it already exists, in the form of a fun, alternate audio track applied to the footage.

It would also be cool if these live-action remakes were connected in some larger cinematic universe, giving them at least some reason to exist beyond milking nostalgia with new versions of older films. Anyone who has seen Tim Burton’s Dumbo knows how easily that film could connect to The Jungle Book. And Jungle Book was of course the film that Favreau directed to pave the way for his gig to redo Lion King. And the fact that some of the films take place in different eras shouldn’t impede the characters meeting, especially since one of the movies has a time-bending Genie in it.

This new version of The Lion King has also generated some buzz over the semantics of referring to it as live-action, given that after the initial shot of the sunrise, the entire movie is digitally animated. To me, the terms “live-action” and “animated” have more to do with aesthetic than they do with photography. The film is meant to depict a real-world environment, and does so using visual effects. A film is typically classified in the “animated” genre because its characters and settings are meant to portray a stylized reality unto itself. There are certainly exceptions here and there, and the digital tools filmmakers now have at their disposal have certainly blurred the lines between what could be considered “animated” and “live-action,” so much so that the discussion over it could be considered something of a cinematic Ship of Theseus.

Consider any real-life scene that could be filmed practically, and imagine touching up that scene with photorealistic CGI. Elements in the background are replaced one by one until the only thing left that was really there is a person in the foreground (not unlike Jungle Book). Now remove the person — you get an “animated” scene of a live-action setting. That’s what Lion King has essentially done, just pushing past the step of shooting something real to begin with. It’s “live-action” when the world has been re-created with visual effects; it’s “animated” when the pictured environment is not meant as a portrayal of something real.

And we see from the extensive Lion King bonus materials how the process of creating this simulated live-action film differs from that of the usual CG animated film, involving animators plugging data into their computer. To better simulate the live-action environment, filmmakers created a virtual reality studio, using a real cinematographer (Caleb Deschanel) and real cameramen walking around the virtual set to craft the image, just as they would any live-action film.

And consider this: The very nature of film projection is an illusion — a procession of still images presented in a sequence meant to fool the eye into perceiving motion. This is the simple truth that made cartoons work in the first place. If anything, traditional cel animation would have as much claim as being “live-action” as anything, considering how they are basically a series of photographs of static drawings that actually existed in the physical realm, which is more than can be said about the artwork of most modern cartoons.

On the Lion King’s home video extras, the process for creating the film shares considerable real estate with some nostalgia for the original, mostly owing to how the filmmakers wanted to be faithful to the story and characters.

Favreau in his informative solo commentary also waxes over the Lion King stage show, which convinced him that the basic musical storytelling elements translated well across whatever visual medium they were presented. Favreau also details the most notable changes between the new and old versions, mostly having to do with toning down the anthropomorphizing of some of the animals and punching up the verisimilitude of musical numbers where the animation could depict some colorful, wacky dance sequences. Favreau also provides a minute-long introduction to the film.

The centerpiece of the extras is the three-part “The Journey to The Lion King” documentary that runs about 54 minutes in total. “The Music” (14 minutes) deals with updates to the original music, which involved bringing Hans Zimmer to reprise the score, and the new cast’s reaction to singing the well-known songs; plus, Beyoncé added a song, and Elton John, who wrote the original songs, recorded a new song for the end credits. “The Magic” (21 minutes) focuses on the filmmaking techniques employed in the film, blending live-action photographic techniques with virtual reality and CGI. “The Timeless Tale” (19 minutes) lets the filmmakers reflect on the legacy of the original film.

Three “More to Be Scene” segments take an iconic musical sequence from the film and show the different layers needed to create the scene, from storyboards to rough animation to voice recording, compared with the final product. The songs include “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata.”

Finally, the Blu-ray and digital presentations include music videos for the new Elton John song, “Never Too Late,” and the new Beyoncé song, “Spirit.”

There’s also a sing-along viewing mode for the film, plus seven song sequences playable on their own with text lyrics. That should keep the little ones happy without watching the whole film again.

The three-minute “Protect the Pride” is a PSA featuring Favreau pleading for the conservation of lions and their habitats.

There are also a couple of digital-exclusive extras. The three-minute “Perfecting the Pride” details the filmmakers taking a research trip to Africa, while the three-and-a-half-minute “Pride Lands Pedia” is a fun video hosted by Dembe the dung beetle, who profiles some of the animals and environments seen in the film.

 

Merchandising: Retailers Singing ‘Hakuna Matata’ With ‘Lion King’ Exclusives

Disney’s remake of The Lion King arrived on disc Oct. 22 with a couple of opportunities for fans to pick up exclusive collectible editions.

Target offered the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with 40-page gallery book for $34.99. Target also touted an exclusive gold vinyl soundtrack for $17.99

Best Buy had a Steelbook edition of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Lion King’ Steelbook

Walmart offers the Lion King CD soundtrack with an exclusive Simba poster for $11.88.

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Target’s ‘Wonder Woman: Bloodlines’ Steelbook

Another of the week’s new releases grabbing some exclusives attention was Warner’s Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack of the animated film in a Blu-ray Steelbook for $19.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Wonder Woman: Bloodlines’ with figurine

Best Buy had the Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a pack-in Wonder Woman figurine for $29.99.

Other Best Buy exclusives during the week included a Steelbook of the new 4K UHD BD of the 2000 version of Charlie’s Angels for $24.99. Also, “Fast & Furious” fans can preorder the Hobbs & Shaw 4K Steelbook for $34.99 and gain instant access to a digital copy of the film.