Movies Anywhere Celebrates First Birthday With 6 Million Users and 150 Million Movies Collected

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital movie library service backed by most of the major studios, is celebrating its first birthday with 6 million registered users, 150 million movies collected and more than 1 billion minutes viewed.

To mark its first year, for a limited period, fans who sync for the first time with one digital retailer will receive a copy of Happy Feet. Those who sync for the first time with two digital retailers also receive The Martian and The Fate of the Furious.

“This has been a very exciting first year of growth and immersive engagement for Movies Anywhere,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere. “Our users are among the most passionate and engaged movie fans, so it’s been incredibly rewarding to see them embrace and value our product in such a positive way.  We look forward to further evolving and enhancing the Movies Anywhere experience in the upcoming year.”

The service, which allows consumers to access their digital movie purchases in one place with one password, is backed by five Hollywood studios and six digital retailers. Studios include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including Focus Features, DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers are iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNow.

Other first-year milestones for the service include:

  • Fans have streamed more than 35 million movies on more than 100 different devices;
  • 95 percent of users reported high levels of satisfaction with the app, according to an August 2018 Futuresource report; and
  • The service was nominated for “Fan Favorite App” in the Google Play Best of 2018 Awards.

 

The digital movie sales and rights-locker storage service launched last October with support from five of the six major studios, four of the biggest online retailers, and an opening library of more than 7,300 movies. Over the past year the service has grown to more than 7,500 movies and has added FandangoNow and Microsoft Movies & TV to its digital retailer lineup. Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

Digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other filmed content, known in the industry as “electronic sellthrough,” or EST, rose 18% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter in the year prior, a significant uptick from the single-digit gains posted in prior years, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Industry observers attribute at least some of the gain to the rising popularity of Movies Anywhere platform.

 

Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ Coming to Disc and Digital Nov. 6

The family film Christopher Robin will come out on digital (including Movies Anywhere) and on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 6 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

In the live-action adventure, A.A. Milne’s characters from the Hundred Acre Wood — Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl —venture into mid-century London to help grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) and remind him to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

The film made $98.3 million in theaters.

Bonus features on Blu-ray combo pack (Blu-ray, DVD and digital) and digital include: “In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh ,” a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie; “In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice,” featuring voice actors; “In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends,”  exploring the legacy of Walt Disney’s first encounter with Pooh; and “In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life,” about the special effects of bringing the stuffed characters to life. The digital release includes the exclusive bonus feature, “In Which … We Were Very Young,” about the original teddy bear given to Christopher Robin Milne 98 years ago. Bonus features may vary by retailer.

Disney Releasing 25th Anniversary Blu-rays for ‘Nightmare Before Christmas,’ ‘Hocus Pocus’ Sept. 2

Walt Disney Studios will celebrate the 25th anniversary of two of its popular Halloween-themed titles with new Blu-ray and digital (including Movies Anywhere) releases of Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas Sept. 2.

Produced by Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animated musical-fantasy that follows Pumpkin King Jack Skellington’s misguided mission to make Yuletide his own.

The release includes a new sing-along mode version, which includes pop-up lyrics to 11 songs, as well as the original film.

Bonus features (may vary by retailer) on Blu-ray and digital include song selection; six making-of featurettes; deleted storyboards; deleted animated sequences; Burton’s early short film “Frankenweenie”; a tour of Jack’s Haunted Mansion, transformed by Disney Imagineers for Disneyland; Burton’s original poem that inspired the movie narrated by Christopher Lee and set over illustrations based on Burton’s art; storyboard-to-film comparison; the theatrical trailer; and the teaser trailer.

Bonus features exclusive to the Blu-ray include Burton’s early film Vincent, narrated by Vincent Price, and a view of the promotional posters from the movie’s release.

Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as three 17th century witches who are accidentally brought to the 20th century.

The Blu-ray includes the original theatrical film and the “We Love Hocus Pocus: Trivia and Treats Edition,” featuring pop-up factoids, trivia, deleted scenes, concept art, filmmaker commentary and behind-the-scenes secrets. The Blu-ray also includes the original 1993 production featurette.

‘Freaky Friday: A New Musical’ Due on DVD Sept. 25 From Disney

Freaky Friday: A New Musical, which premieres on the Disney Channel Aug. 10, will come out on DVD Sept. 25 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

Based on Disney Theatrical Productions’ stage adaptation of the novel by Mary Rodgers, the musical stars Cozi Zuehlsdorff as 16-year-old Ellie Blake and Heidi Blickenstaff as her uber-organized mom Katherine. Mother and daughter are constantly at odds. During a quarrel, they accidentally break the hourglass given to Ellie by her deceased father and magically switch bodies.

Bonus Material on the DVD includes blooper reels, deleted scenes and audition tapes for the two leads.

Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Coming May 29 on Digital, June 5 on Disc

A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling and directed by Ava DuVernay, will come out May 29 on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere and June 5 on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, DVD and On-Demand from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

The film has earned $93.7 million in theaters.

Based on Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Medal-winning young adult novel, the story follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid) who — with the help of Mrs. Which (Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Kaling) — journeys across dimensions with classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) and younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) in search of her father (Chris Pine), a world-renowned physicist who mysteriously disappeared four years ago.

Bonus material includes an extended featurette providing inside access to the cast and crew; audio commentary from DuVernay and team; deleted scenes; bloopers; and two music videos, “I Believe,” performed by DJ Khaled and Demi Lovato, and “Warrior,” performed by Chloe x Halle.

Disney Files Amended Redbox Complaint

The Walt Disney Co. and subsidiaries Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios have filed an amended complaint against Redbox, claiming the kiosk vendor infringes copyright law by selling digital codes to its movies.

The complaint, filed April 9 in U.S. District in Los Angeles, alleges Redbox continues to sell separately digital codes included in Disney movie “combo packs,” featuring the DVD, Blu-ray and/or 4K/UHD disc to a particular title.

Disney claims Redbox sells the codes without authorization and in violation of applicable license agreements included in writing with every packaged media release.

“Redbox will continue to knowingly and materially contribute to the infringement of the copyrighted works unless and until ordered to stop doing so,” read the complaint.

The media company last November filed suit against Redbox, seeking to prohibit it from selling codes to titles such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Moana at a discount to what digital copies sell for on Amazon or iTunes.

A planned hearing scheduled last month on a motion by Redbox to dismiss the lawsuit was postponed.

Disney contends Redbox sells codes to the following titles: Coco (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Finding Dory (2016), The Jungle Book (2016), Moana (2016), and Inside Out (2015).

Lucasfilm titles include Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015).

Marvel copyrights include Doctor Strange (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and Iron Man 3 (2013).

More importantly, Marvel’s Black Panther, the top box office movie of the year, is slated to release into retail channels shortly.

Disney now wants to jumpstart legal proceedings.

“The obvious consequence of Redbox undercutting of licensee prices is that licensees will likely sell fewer digital downloads of Disney movies and Disney will earn less revenue,” Janice Marinelli, president of Disney/ABC Home Entertainment, said in the compliant.

A Redbox representative was not immediately available for comment.

Movies Anywhere Offers Music-Only Version of ‘Last Jedi’

A score-only version of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with an audio track that isolates composer John Williams’ music is available exclusively on Movies Anywhere for a limited time to those who link a digital purchase of the film to the service.

The Lucasfilm blockbuster distributed by Walt Disney Studios debuted on digital March 13 and arrives on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 27.

Movies Anywhere March 12 added FandangoNow to its list of retail partners, which also include Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Walmart-owned Vudu. The digital movie rights locker service features content from Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.

Apple, Disney and YouTube Top Millennial Brands in New Report

Apple, Disney and YouTube, respectively, ranked as the top three most “intimate” brands among millennials, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2018 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. Brand intimacy leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.

“We were surprised and pleased to see YouTube as an addition to the top three most intimate brands for millennials this year,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “We believe its rise is due to our culture’s continued need for escape and the brand’s immediate, diverse content, personalities and growing offerings in movies and live TV. YouTube is clearly an established ritual in the lives of many millennials today.”

By comparison, in MBLM’s 2017 report, Disney placed first, followed by Amazon and Netflix.

The other brands that rounded out the top 10 were Target, Amazon, Nintendo, Google, Xbox, Netflix and Whole Foods.

The age group of 18-24-year-olds had a slightly different mix of top companies. The top 10 for that group were Apple, Amazon, YouTube, PlayStation, Starbucks, Nintendo, Google, Netflix, Coca Cola and Walmart.

The report analyzed the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the United States, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. The full report will be released on March 13, 2018.

‘Last Jedi’ Headed to Digital March 13, Disc March 27

Lucasfilm’s Star WarsThe Last Jedi — the eighth episode of the “Star Wars” saga and 2017’s highest grossing film — will hit digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD and via Movies Anywhere on March 13, two weeks before the Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release March 27 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

It is Disney’s first title available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos immersive audio.

The film features the return of original characters, including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO and further explores the journey of the saga’s new members, Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren. The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Frank Oz and Benicio Del Toro.

In bonus features, director Rian Johnson explores the creation of Star WarsThe Last Jedi, explaining his unique interpretation of the Force, detailing the painstaking process of creating Snoke, and deconstructing action scenes from the film such as the epic space battle and the final confrontation. Johnson also reveals two exclusive scenes, featuring Andy Serkis as Snoke prior to his digital makeover, as well as 14 never-before-seen deleted scenes, in addition to his audio commentary.

Bonus features include:

  • The Director and the Jedi, in which writer-director Rian Johnson takes an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie;
  • Balance of the Force, which explores the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in a unique way;
  • scene breakdowns, including a close-up look at the epic space battle, about the detailed process of creating the movie’s malevolent master villain, and a breakdown of everything that went into creating the world seen in the movie’s final confrontation;
  • Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only), in which writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke;
  • deleted scenes;
  • and audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

 

Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

The Multiscreen Edition (formerly the Blu-ray Combo Pack) includes a Blu-ray and a digital copy. The 4K UHD Collector’s Edition includes a 4K Ultra HD disc with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, a Blu-ray disc, and a digital copy (where available).

Will Premium VOD Plans Get Lased in 2018?

NEWS ANALYSIS — Hollywood’s long-running attempt to stream theatrical releases early into consumer homes at a premium price may be dead on the vine following Disney’s $52.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox Film and other 21st Century Fox assets.

Fox Film CEO Stacey Snider, along with Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, has been a vocal proponent of premium video-on-demand. The business model would charge consumers $30 to stream movies in the home 30 to 45 days after their box office debut.

That mindset could change as Disney CEO Bob Iger has made no secret his desire to maintain the current theatrical window. That makes sense as Disney ended 2017 No. 1 at the domestic box office with more than $2.2 billion in ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. Warner Bros. and Fox finished second and fourth, respectively.

With Disney planning to launch proprietary over-the-top video services around movie brands such as Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar, it would appear mining short-term incremental revenue during the theatrical window could undermine the media giant’s larger, future digital payday.

Indeed, Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres – the world’s largest theater chain – has said any PVOD deal (i.e. revenue sharing) with studios would have to be fiscally incremental to exhibitors.

Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, contends studios didn’t learn much following Universal Pictures’ short-lived attempt in 2011 to stream action-comedy Tower Heist early in homes for $59.99. The campaign was scuttled before launch when theaters (totaling more than 3,000 screens) threatened to boycott the movie. Pachter said the PVOD “threat” has even less of chance of materializing without Disney/Fox on board.

“I think PVOD is stupid and a dead issue,” the analyst said in an email.