Universal Pictures Ups Q2 Home Entertainment Revenue Almost 22%

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment July 28 reported second-quarter (ended June 30) revenue of $298 million, which was up 21.6% from revenue of $245 million in the previous-year period.

Through the first six months of the year, home entertainment sales and rentals of movies rose more than 15% to $608 million from $527 million during the previous-year period.

Top-selling movies on digital and packaged media in the quarter included The Northman and the animated feature films Sing 2 and The Bad Guys, among others, including Halloween Kills.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures’ quarterly revenue increased 33.3% to $3 billion, primarily reflecting higher theatrical revenue and content licensing revenue.

Theatrical revenue increased $352 million to $550 million, mostly due to an increase in the number of theatrical releases, including the successful release of Jurassic World: Dominion.

Content licensing revenue increased 19%, driven by television content licensing.

Adjusted pre-tax earnings decreased $155 million to $1 million, reflecting higher operating expenses, which more than offset higher revenue. The increase in operating expenses was driven by higher programming and production expenses, reflecting higher amortization of television and film production costs in the current year period, as well as an increase in advertising, marketing and promotion expenses ahead of recent film releases, Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions: The Rise of Gru.

For the six months ended June 30, revenue from the studio segment increased 23.9% to $5.7 billion compared to 2021, primarily reflecting higher content licensing revenue and theatrical revenue. Adjusted pre-tax earnings decreased 62.4% to $246 million compared to 2021, reflecting higher operating expenses, which more than offset higher revenue.

‘The Northman’ Conquers Disc Sales Charts

Universal Pictures’ The Northman 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 June 11.

The film, based on the Viking legends that inspired Hamlet, tells the story of a deposed Viking prince who returns from hiding to seek revenge against his uncle for murdering his father. It earned $34 million at the domestic box office.

The top title the previous two weeks, Warner’s The Batman, dropped to No. 2 on both charts, selling about 83% as many copies in its third week as Northman did in its first.

No. 3 on both charts was Paramount’s 1986 film Top Gun, continuing its resurgence on home video with the theatrical release of its sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

Rounding out the top five were a pair of Sony Pictures’ releases. No. 4 overall and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart was the video game adaptation Uncharted. No. 5 overall and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart was Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The only other new release in the top 10 was Paramount’s The Contractor, starring Chris Pine as a former soldier who takes a job with a private defense firm in order to pay debts.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 63% of total Northman sales (20% 4K, 43% BD) and 50% for Contractor (9% 4K, 41% BD).

New Steelbook releases of Oscar Best Picture Winners Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray pushed them back up the charts. Lawrence was No. 11 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart, with 99.1% of its total unit sales coming from the 4K edition. Kwai was No. 40 overall and No. 15 on the Blu-ray chart, which 96.8% of its tally from the new 4K release. The 4K versions were previously only available through a boxed set released a couple years ago.

Follow us on Instagram!

The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 12 had Contractor at No. 1 and Northman at No. 2.

Uncharted dropped to No. 3, followed by the Universal-distributed MGM comedy Dog at No. 4, and The Batman at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 6-11-22
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 6-12-22
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 6-11-22
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 6-11-22
Sales Report for Week Ended 6-11-22
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 6-13-22

‘Northman,’ ‘Contractor,’ ‘Unbearable Weight’ Lead June 7 Releases on Disc, Digital

New releases on Blu-ray and DVD June 7 include The Northman and The Contractor, while The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent becomes available for digital purchase.

The Viking saga The Northman was released on digital with exclusive bonus content June 6, and arrives on 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition, Blu-ray Collector’s Edition and DVD June 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. From director Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), the film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Claes Bang and Björk. In the film, after witnessing first-hand the murder of his father, a Viking prince (Skarsgård) devotes his life to avenge his father’s death, save his mother and reclaim his kingdom. Bonus features include nine deleted and extended scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The action thriller The Contractor will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD June 7 from Paramount Home Entertainment. In the film, Chris Pine stars as Special Forces Sergeant James Harper, who is involuntarily discharged from the Army and cut-off from his pension. In debt, out of options and desperate to provide for his family, Harper contracts with a private underground military force. When the very first assignment goes awry, the elite soldier finds himself hunted and on the run, caught in a dangerous conspiracy and fighting to stay alive long enough to get home and uncover the true motives of those who betrayed him. The film also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Foster, Gillian Jacobs and Eddie Marsan.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Eraser: Reborn on digital, Blu-ray and DVD June 7. Eraser: Reborn, which will be also available for streaming on HBO Max in fall 2022, follows U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard, who specializes in “erasing” people — faking the deaths of high-risk witnesses. With the technological advances of the past 25 years, the game has upgraded, and it’s just another day at the office when he’s assigned to Rina Kimura, the wife of a crime boss who’s decided to turn state’s evidence. As the two flee to Cape Town, South Africa, with a team of merciless assassins on their trail, Pollard discovers he’s been set up.

Screen Media June 7 releases the thriller 9 Bullets on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. In the film, a former burlesque dancer turned author (Lena Headey) discovers a second chance at life and redemption when she risks everything to rescue her young neighbor after he witnesses the murder of his parents. Now on the run from a local crime boss (Sam Worthington), who happens to be her longtime ex, she makes a desperate attempt to get the boy to safety. The cast also includes Dean Scott Vasquez, Cam Gigandet, La La Anthony, Martin Sensmeier and Barbara Hershey.

Seasons one and two of the docuseries “History’s Greatest Mysteries,” covering some of the most historically important and enduring mysteries from all over the world, arrives June 7 on DVD from Lionsgate. Hosted and narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne, “History’s Greatest Mysteries” explores the most popular theories surrounding the world’s most elusive unsolved mysteries. From deaths and disappearances of famous figures to buried treasures and alleged government cover-ups, each episode of the first two seasons of the docuseries features interviews with renowned historians, scientists and researches as they examine long-held explanations for these paradoxical events. 

The Finnish romance drama Compartment No. 6 will be released on digital, Blu-ray and DVD June 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In the film, a young Finnish woman escapes an enigmatic love affair in Moscow by boarding a train to the arctic port of Murmansk. Forced to share the long ride and a tiny sleeping car with a Russian miner, the unexpected encounter leads the occupants of compartment no. 6 to face the truth about their own yearning for human connection. The film was an official selection at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival (Grand Prix award for director Juho Kuosmanen), 2021 Seattle International Film Festival, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and 2021 Zurich Film Festival.

The comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent arrives on digital June 7. Starring as himself is Nicolas Cage (Best Actor, Leaving Las Vegas, 1995; “National Treasure” franchise, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Rock). Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage accepts a million-dollar offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal). Things take an unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and he must use his legendary acting skills, channeling his most iconic and beloved characters to become a real-life action hero. Also starring are Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio and Neil Patrick Harris. It arrives on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand June 21 from Lionsgate.

The action-adventure The Siege of Robin Hood will be released for digital sellthrough and on demand June 7 from Saban Films. In the film, when the Sheriff of Nottingham’s soldiers brutally attack his family, a young man named Robin vows bloody revenge on the men responsible. He recruits a team of outcasts, mavericks and fugitive warriors, each has a grudge to settle with the sheriff and an extreme fighting skill to match. Together they devise a plan to exact revenge and lay to rest the ghosts of his past.

Who You Gonna Call?, a documentary on the man who wrote the hit “Ghostbusters” song, will be released on digital June 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Filmmaker Fran Strine explores the riveting true story of Ray Parker Jr., the man who wrote and recorded the global smash hit song, which became a universally recognized pop culture classic. Parker Jr. granted Strine unprecedented access to reveal his never-before-told life story — from overcoming nearly impossible odds growing up on the segregated streets of Detroit in the 1960s to achieving his dream of getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and winning a Grammy. Who You Gonna Call? pulls back the curtain to reveal Parker’s now little-known yet legendary career, with Clive Davis and other music legends sharing what it was like to collaborate with Parker, both on stage and off. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!   

The zany comedy Aliens, Clowns & Geeks, from actor-director and creative multi-hyphenate Richard Elfman, is headed to Blu-ray and DVD June 7 from MVD Entertainment Group. The out-of-this-world adventure finds out-of-work actor Eddy Pine (Bodhi Elfman) stumbling upon the key to the universe and getting twisted up in an intergalatic war between killer clowns and sneaky aliens. Stars include the late Verne Troyer in his final film role, comedian Steve Agee, French Stewart and George Wendt. Additional cast includes Anastasia Elfman, Malcolm Foster Smith, Rebecca Forsythe, Angeline-Rose Troy, Nic Novicki and Martin Klebba. The soundtrack consists of all new original music from Oscar-nominated composer and Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman and Ego Plum. 

The comedies Clifford and The Heavenly Kid and the action films The Killer Elite, from director Sam Peckinpah, and The Mechanic, starring Charles Bronson, are being released on Blu-ray June 7 from Ronin Flix and MVD Entertainment Group.

Starring Martin Short (Three Amigos, Innerspace) as a smart, hyperactive and dangerous 10-year-old, Clifford (1994) co-stars Charles Grodin (Midnight Run, The Heartbreak Kid), Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard, Time After Time) and Dabney Coleman (9 to 5, WarGames). In the film, young Clifford has a lifelong dream: to visit the Dinosaur World theme park. Happily, his uncle Martin (Grodin) has agreed to take him. But when Martin suddenly reneges on his promise, Clifford hatches a devious plan to get even and teach his uncle that all work and no play makes Clifford a very bad boy.

In The Heavenly Kid (1985), Lenny Barnes (Jason Gedrick, Iron Eagle, TV’s “Boomtown”) gets divine intervention to educate him in the ways of love from a hip guardian angel, Bobby Fantana (Lewis Smith, Wyatt Earp, Southern Comfort, TV’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth”), a former rebel-without-a-cause. Fantana helps to mold Lenny into the king of cool so Fantana can finally earn his entry into Heaven. After Bobby gives Lenny an extreme makeover, Lenny learns that being popular isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The film also stars Jane Kaczmarek (TV’s “Malcolm in the Middle,” D.O.A., All’s Fair), Richard Mulligan (TV’s “Empty Nest,” Soap, Scavenger Hunt) and Nancy Valen (TV’s “Baywatch,” Final Embrace). Special features include interviews with stars Lewis Smith and Nancy Valen; audio commentary by director Cary Medoway, moderated by Jeff McKay; and the theatrical trailer.

In Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite (1975), elite assassins Mike Locken (James Caan, Rollerball, The Godfather, Misery) and George Hansen (Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather) take on jobs too risky for even the CIA to handle. They’re best friends, superior marksmen and on the ‘A’-list when it comes to killing. But when one high-powered hitman betrays another, the intrigue, the violence and the thrills become more than just a dangerous game of who-kills-whom first. It becomes a very personal war. Directed by Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, The Getaway, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), the film also stars Arthur Hill (Future World, The Andromeda Strain, Harper), Bo Hopkins (A Small Town in Texas, Mutant, Midnight Express), Burt Young (Rocky, Amityville II, Convoy), Mako (The Sand Pebbles, An Eye for an Eye, Conan the Barbarian), Helmut Dantine (The Story of Mankind, The Wilby Conspiracy) and Academy Award winning actor Gig Young (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Game of Death, The Tunnel of Love). Special features include interviews with Bo Hopkins and production assistant Katy Haber; audio commentary with film historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and Nick Redman; TV and radio spots; and the original trailer.

In The Mechanic, Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson) is a mob hit man who operates in an uncompromising world where conventional rules of morality don’t apply and one wrong move could cost him his life. He’s always worked alone; but, as age catches up with him, Bishop takes on a competent and ruthless apprentice and teaches him everything he knows. Together they become an unmatchable team of globetrotting killers until the pupil’s ruthlessness puts him on a collision course with his teacher. Special features include an interview with writer Lewis John Carlino; audio commentary with author Paul Talbot (“Bronson’s Loose” book series); audio commentary with cinematographer Richard H. Kline, moderated By Nick Redman; and the theatrical trailer.

Kino Lorber June 7 releases on Blu-ray Passion in the Desert, a 1997 film from director Lavinia Currier that is based on the 1830 short story of the same name by Honoré de Balzac. Passion in the Desert is set in 1798, shortly after Napoleon I invaded Egypt. The film follows the story of a young army officer, Augustin Robert (Ben Daniels), sent to protect an elderly artist who had been commissioned by Napoleon to draw some of the famous sights in Egypt. The officer ultimately finds himself stranded, alone, in the Sahara desert.  Left to his own devices, he is likely to die, but after stumbling upon mysterious ruins housing a wild leopard, the man and beast form an inextricable bond.

Kino Lorber June 7 releases on DVD Bix: Ain’t None of Them Play Like Him Yet, a 1981 documentary on Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke, considered to be the greatest jazz cornet player ever. Bix, along with Louis Armstrong, pioneered the playing of jazz solos. He was born in 1903 in Davenport, Iowa, into an upper middle-class family. After a bout with alcoholism, Bix died in Sunnyside, Queens on Aug. 6, 1931. The cause of death was lobar pneumonia. He was 28. The 1981 documentary uses archival photographs and rare footage (including the three sole momentary fragments capturing Bix on film) as well as interviews with friends and colleagues, including jazz greats Hoagy Carmichael, Doc Cheatham, and Artie Shaw.

Kino Lorber June 7 releases its seventh and latest collection of vintage black-and-white film noir movies as Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VII. The Blu-ray Disc set includes The Boss, Chicago Confidential and The Fearmakers. All three films are from brand-new 2K masters.

Kino Lorber June 7 releases a Blu-ray of Savage Sisters, a 1974 actioner directed by Filipino filmmaking legend Eddie Romero that stars Romero, Gloria Hendry, Cheri Carraro, Roseanna Ortiz, Sid Haig, Vic Diaz, and John Ashley. The film follows three of the world’s deadliest women as they plan a spectacular jailbreak, a million-dollar robbery and an island revolution. The film was prepped for home release from a new 2K master, and both the DVD and the Blu-ray Disc come with new audio commentary by Horror-Flix.com’s James G. Chandler and Ash Hamilton.

Also due June 7 from Kino Lorber on Blu-ray and DVD is Stunt Rock!, a 1977 film directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starring Grant Page, Monique van de Ven, Margaret Gerard, Curtis Hyde, Paul Haynes, Curtis Hyde, and Greg Magie. Australian stunt man Page (Mad Max) goes to Los Angeles and meets up with a theatrical rock band called Sorcery. He impresses the rockers so much with his daredevil antics that they hire him for their act. While his first stunt lands him in the hospital, the reckless Page defies his doctors’ orders, escaping out of the ward’s fifth-story window to get back to the band. Page soon finds himself the focus of the ladies, attracting both a newspaper reporter (Gerard) and a television star (van de Ven), much to the annoyance of her manager (Richard Blackburn, Eating Raoul). 

Two David Lean classics, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai, are being released in separate limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbooks June 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Both releases feature Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Celebrating its 6oth anniversary and winner of seven Academy Awards — including Best Director for Lean and Best Picture of 1962 — Lawrence of Arabia stars Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence, the audacious World War I British army officer who heroically united rival Arab desert tribes and led them to war against the mighty Turkish Empire.

Celebrating its 65th anniversary, Lean’s epic World War II adventure The Bridge on the River Kwai won seven 1957 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Alec Guinness) and Best Director (Lean). In the film, when British POWs build a vital railway bridge in enemy-occupied Burma, Allied commandos are assigned to destroy it.

The musical Grease 2 will be released in a limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook June 7 from Paramount Home Entertainment for its 40th anniversary. The follow up to 1978’s Grease, Grease 2 was originally released on June 11, 1982. In the film, Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield star as high school students from very different backgrounds who find love despite the expectations of everyone around them. It’s 1961 and there’s a new crop of seniors ready to rule Rydell High, including the coolest cliques on campus — the Pink Ladies and T-Birds. Michael Carrington (Caulfield) is the new kid in town, but he’s been branded a brainiac. Can he fix up an old motorcycle, don a leather jacket, and avoid a rumble with the leader of the T-Birds (Adrian Zmed) to win the heart of Pink Lady Stephanie Zinone (Pfeiffer)?

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

‘The Northman’ Among Trilogy of New Releases at the Domestic Weekend Box Office

In the typical lull before the opening of what is expected to be a monstrous blockbuster, Disney’s May 6 release of Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse, three niche films are battling it out at the North American box office this weekend.

The showdown is something of a test to see whether smaller films can still draw audiences to theaters, amid lingering hesitancy from the COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of new movies on streaming services.

The Northman, a Viking epic from Focus Features and New Regency Pictures, stars Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe, and was directed by Robert Eggers, who previously won praise for the horror films The Witch (2015) and Lighthouse (2019). The Northman has already been hailed for its production values — not surprising, given its estimated budget of up to $90 million — and enjoys an 88% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Friday (April 22) morning. The film also earned just under $1.4 million in Thursday night previews, more than the two other new releases, Dreamworks Animation’s Bad Guys (just under $1.2 million) and the latest Nicolas Cage film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent ($835,000), from Lionsgate.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Bad Guys is an animated family film with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 86%. The film marks the directorial debut of Pierre Perifel and is based on the children’s book series of the same name by Aaron Blabey. The voice cast includes Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, and Anthony Ramos. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times hailed Bad Guys as “a great-looking film with terrific performances, some lovely messaging and a steady parade of solid laughs — some the kids will enjoy and just as many targeted squarely at the grown-up kids in the audience.”

And The Unbreakable Weight of Massive Talent is a satire with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%. Cage plays a fictional version of himself, who has to accept a $1 million offer to attend a not-quite-right superfan’s birthday party. To make things worse, he’s recruited by a CIA operative (played by Tiffany Haddish) and is forced to channel his own iconic characters to save the proverbial day.

All three films are projected to finish behind two big-budget, high-profile holdovers: Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the third installment in the “Harry Potter” spinoff franchise, which opened to $43 million over the Easter weekend, and Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which generated $30 million its sophomore weekend. The film’s total domestic take, according to Box Office Mojo, is nearly $129 million.