‘Sex Education’ Top Streaming Original, ‘Shang-Chi’ Top Movie on Weekly TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Sex Education” led the TV Time chart of top streaming originals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings the TV Time chart of top movies among U.S. consumers for the week ended Sept. 26.

The British dramedy “Sex Education” follows a socially awkward teen who lives with his sex therapist mom and offers sex advice to his peers. Season three started streaming Sept. 17.

The latest Marvel feature Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is only showing in theaters and has earned nearly $200 million at the box office domestically.

The charts replace TV Time’s weekly binge and rising show charts.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

“Lucifer,” the sixth and final season of which debuted on Netflix Sept. 10, fell to No. 2 on the streaming originals chart. It follows Lucifer’s exploits on Earth.

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” which garnered four Emmys Sept. 19 including Outstanding Comedy Series, remained at No. 3 on the streaming originals chart. Jason Sudeikis won an Emmy for Lead Actor, Hannah Waddingham for Supporting Actress, and Brett Goldstein for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the series, season two of which began streaming July 23.

At No. 2 on the movies chart was 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game.

Malignant, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max Sept. 10, fell from No. 1 to No. 3. It’s a possession thriller from director James Wan (The ConjuringInsidious).

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Sept. 26:

  1. “Sex Education” — Netflix
  2. “Lucifer” — Netflix
  3. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  4. “What If …” — Disney+
  5. “Star Wars: Visions” — Disney+ (Season Premiere)
  6. “The Circle” (U.S.) — Netflix
  7. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  8. “Squid Game” — Netflix
  9. “Titans” (2018) — HBO Max
  10. “Nine Perfect Strangers” — Hulu

 

Top Movies Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Sept. 26:

  1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — Disney
  2. Free Guy — 20th Century Studios
  3. Malignant — Warner Bros.
  4. Kate — Netflix
  5. Black Widow — Disney
  6. Candyman — MGM
  7. Old — Universal
  8. Cruella — Disney
  9. The Suicide Squad — Warner Bros.
  10. Cinderella — Amazon Prime Video

Gravitas Ventures to Release Doc ‘Hood River’ in Theaters and On Demand Sept. 10

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American distribution rights to the Stick Figure soccer documentary Hood River and will release the film in theaters and on demand Sept. 10.

The documentary follows a high school soccer team in a small Oregon community that strives to overcome class and racial divide in a quest for both individual and team success. While Domingo deals with the deportation of his father to Mexico, and Eric painfully learns how to become a captain and command the respect of his Mexican-American teammates, Coach Riviera struggles to keep the team together amidst the pressure of academics and athletics. Set against the backdrop of a segregated American town, the coming-of-age documentary focuses on the friendship and maturation of these complex and conflicted student athletes.

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Directed by Steven Cantor and Jonathan Field, the film is produced by Steven Cantor and Jamie Schutz and executive produced by Robert Rodriguez in association with the PepsiCo Content Studio and Wavelength.

“Throughout the production, Steven and I felt deeply moved by the social struggles and resolve of the Hood River Valley High School soccer team and we are thrilled to partner with Gravitas in sharing the film with audiences,” Field said in a statement.

“I was thrilled to partner with both Stick Figure and PepsiCo Content Studio in making this timely film that shows how young athletes overcome obstacles both on the field and off,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“Steven and Jonathan’s film utilizes the contrasting perspectives of its subjects to showcase how individual experience can either divide us or be harnessed to strengthen a team effort,” Tony Piantedosi, VP of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement. “Their film is a reflection of the ongoing struggles that we face in small towns, in large cities, and as a nation. We look forward to presenting this timely documentary to North American audiences.”

Redbox Entertainment Acquires ‘The Last Son’

Redbox Entertainment has acquired North American distribution rights to The Last Son.

The film stars Sam Worthington, Colson Baker, Thomas Jane and Heather Graham, with Tim Sutton (Donnybrook) directing from a Black List script by Greg Johnson.

The film will be released simultaneously in theaters and On Demand later this year.

Set in the Sierra Nevada in the late 19th century, The Last Son centers on Isaac LeMay (Worthington), a murderous outlaw cursed by a terrible prophecy, hunting down his offspring to prevent his own murder before targeting his son Cal (Baker). With bounty hunters and the enigmatic U.S. Officer Solomon (Jane) on their tail, all are set on a collision course toward a brutal game of cat-and-mouse.

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The Last Son was filmed in Montana late last year and is currently in post-production.

“With an outstanding ensemble cast, talented director, and an incredible story, we’re excited to be a part of this stellar production,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Redbox on the release of the picture; they have been a part of The Last Son team since the beginning,” added Andre Relis, CEO of VMI Worldwide.

The Last Son is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes Capone (Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson), SAS: Red Notice (Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose), and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (Al Pacino and Meadow Williams). It also comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with “John Wick” producer Basil Iwanyk, to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment, and J.D. Beaufils and Andre Relis of VMI Worldwide.

Gravitas Ventures Nabs Rights to ‘The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain,’ Headed for Theatrical, On Demand Release Sept. 17

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to writer-director David Midell’s drama The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain from Voltage Pictures.

Gravitas Ventures is slated to release the film — the tragic retelling of the fatal shooting of a 68-year-old African-American man by the White Plains, N.Y., police — in theaters and on demand on Sept. 17.

The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain tells the true story of the final hours of the life of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African-American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were sent to his home to check on him, when his medical alert device was mistakenly activated. Despite Chamberlain informing the officers there was a mistake and he did not have an emergency, they were recorded taunting him, ridiculing his military service and howling racial epithets at him. Finally, the officers broke his door down and shot him to death.

“Our goal all along has been to ask important questions about how our criminal justice system treats people of color, people in low-income areas, and people living with mental health challenges,” Midell (NightLights) said in a statement. “We are beyond excited to work with a partner like Gravitas to bring The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain to North America, and put a very bright spotlight on those questions.”

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The film, which made its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival in 2019, stars Frankie Faison (Do the Right Thing, Silence of the Lambs) as Chamberlain. It is produced by Midell and Enrico Natale of Redbird Entertainment. Executive producers also include Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary, Gary Lucchesi, Sharad Chib, Chris Paladino and Milan Chakraborty.

At the Austin Film Festival, the film won both the Jury Award and Audience Award. It also won the top narrative feature prize at the 24th annual Urbanworld Film Festival, a festival which celebrates inclusive, diverse filmmaking.

“David’s film, featuring a career-best performance by Frankie Faison, is a riveting dramatization of a real-life tragedy, and an urgent addition to the engagement of cinema with police reform and racial injustice,” Tony Piantedosi, VP of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting the film to North American audiences.”

Gravitas Ventures is a Red Arrow Studios company.

‘Rollers’ Coming to Theaters and VOD June 18 From Level 33

The indie comedic drama Rollers will come out in theaters and on VOD June 18 from Level 33 Entertainment.

Written and directed by Isaiah Smallman, the film follows Rufus Paisley, a closet alcoholic with only one thing left to live for, the concert venue Rollers. To keep it alive, he’s drained every ounce of personal capital he’s got. Now the historic venue, once owned by his parents, is in trouble and he’s running out of ways to save it, and himself.

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The film stars Johnny Ray Gill, Kevin Bigley, Kate Cobb, Vicky Jeudy, Joel Allen, Meredith Thomas, Spencer Rayshon Stevenson, Karina Bonnefil, John W. Lawson, Leslie A. Jones, Isaiah Smallman, Courtney Dietz and Grant Withington.

The film features music from Ural Thomas & The Pain, Charles Jones and Barbara Howard.

Mama Bear Studios launched a podcast tracking the making of Rollers, a weekly comedy conversation show hosted by Smallman and Jon Schimpf (an industry insider). The show features interviews with other successful industry players including some of the cast and crew of Rollers.

ROLLERS trailer from Level 33 Entertainment on Vimeo.

 

‘Boss Baby’ Sequel Coming to Peacock and Theaters on Same Day

The animated sequel The Boss Baby: Family Business will debut on the Peacock streaming service and in theaters on the same day, July 2.

The film, from Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation, will be available to Peacock Premium subscribers, who pay $4.99 a month for the service, at no additional cost. It’s the first time Peacock has had a simultaneous theatrical-streaming release.

Peacock is owned by Universal’s parent company, NBCUniversal.

The film features the voices of Alec Baldwin, Lisa Kudrow, James Marsden and Jeff Goldblum, and follows the Templeton brothers, who have become adults and drifted away from each other. Then, a new boss baby brings them together.

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TV Time: Warner’s ‘Mortal Kombat’ Most Anticipated Movie in April

Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat was the most anticipated movie in April on the TV Time chart.

Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the film follows Shaolin Monk Liu Kang, from Earth, who gets invited as a competitor in a mysterious, intergalactic tournament of ancient martial arts. It premieres April 23 in theaters and on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service.

A Whip Media company, TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by nearly 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, premiering on Amazon Prime April 30, took the second spot on the chart. The action thriller is based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Tom Clancy and is a spin-off of the Jack Ryan film series.

Coming in at No. 3 was Netflix’s Thunder Force, premiering April 9 on the streaming service. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spenser and Jason Bateman, the film follows two childhood best friends who reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.

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Also from Netflix, Stowaway, premiering April 22, took the fourth spot on the chart. In the film starring Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson and Toni Collette, a three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board.

Another space story, Lionsgate’s Voyagers, landed at No. 5. Starring Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Fionn Whitehead, the film follows a crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission who descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not. It hits theaters April 9.

Rounding out the chart at No. 6 was Concrete Cowboy, which began streaming on Netflix April 2. Starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin (“Stranger Things”), it follows a rebellious teen, sent to live with his estranged father for the summer, who finds kinship in a tight-knit Philadelphia community of Black cowboys.

 Most Anticipated April Movies

  1. Mortal Kombat – April 23 (Warner Bros., theaters and HBO Max)
  2. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse – April 30 (Amazon Prime)
  3. Thunder Force – April 9 (Netflix)
  4. Stowaway – April 22 (Netflix)
  5. Voyagers – April 9 (Lionsgate, theaters)
  6. Concrete Cowboy – April 2 (Netflix)

 

TV Time features a global community of 16 million users who have reported more than 18 billion views of TV and movie content across 230,000 titles.

Analyst Michael Pachter: Breaking Windows Destroys Value

Michael Pachter thinks the right thing for studios to do after the pandemic subsides is to reopen some windows.

Speaking at a DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group virtual presentation March 24, the Wedbush Securities media analyst said the way for content owners to get the most from their content is to once again have a theatrical window, along with several others in which they can maximize the value of content.

“It is suboptimal if a consumer spends the same amount of money … and subscribes to five services and consumes three times as much content,” he said. “Somebody loses. So the creatives can’t get paid and the publishers of their content can’t get paid if the total pie stays the same and people consume more. So it’s in the best interest of everybody in the value chain to maximize profit, which means theatrical, followed by PVOD or VOD, followed by DVD, and then make the streaming guys wait three years.”

He isn’t keen on the moves by several studios of late to send first-run theatrical releases to their streaming services concurrently with theatrical release, and he thinks it shouldn’t last.

“I think that if the world ever returns to normal, and that’s a 2022 prospect at the earliest, but if the world returns to normal, I think greed is going to thrive,” he said. “I think that the studios are going to maximize the theatrical window again, maybe that’s a 45-day window and not a 70-day window, but you’re going to have [a theatrical window] for a while. You have to remember all the constituencies involved in creating film. Directors like to win Best Director, and actors like to be on ‘The View’ and they like to be on ‘Access Hollywood’ and they like to measure their success in terms of box office. So when you release a movie like Bird Box direct to Netflix, what does everybody get paid? It’s impossible to actually track how much revenue that generated. Ultimately, everybody who works in this industry is motivated by getting paid for their hard work and the best way to get paid is to maximize revenue.”

Disney’s strategy of Premier Access on its streaming service (with an additional fee) for first-run films is a short-term phenomenon, he contended.

“I don’t think they’re going to see any meaningful spike in subscribers, that they are going to abandon this pretty quickly,” he said, noting, “Honestly, nobody is signing up for Disney+ to see Black Widow, period, or Mulan or Raya.”

WarnerMedia’s scheme to send all of its first-run films to its streaming service HBO Max for a year “was an overcommitment,” he said.

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“If you remember a famous HBO product, ‘Game of Thrones,’ we can say, ‘You know nothing, [AT&T CEO] John Stankey,’” Pachter said. “That guy knows nothing about anything. And I’m a big fan of Jason Kilar, and he’s I think in charge of the studio at HBO Max. … My bias is that AT&T bit off way more than they could chew when they bought Time Warner. They’re trying to package HBO Max and sell it and maybe later sell the studio, and I think they’re doing everything they can to make the HBO Max asset worth a lot because they think they’re going to get a Netflix multiple on that, so I think they’re making bad decisions for the creatives and for maximizing profit for the content by shoving it onto HBO Max. I really think that’s where that’s all coming from, but again It’s hard to get in the head of somebody who actually doesn’t know what they’re doing, so it’s hard to second guess. I don’t think the guy knows what he’s doing. I don’t think he has a clue — in way over his head.”

‘Avatar’ Reclaims All-Time Box Office Crown Following Imax China Re-Release

A new generation of Chinese moviegoers this weekend flocked to the virtual world of Pandora, as Imax Corporation generated $6.2 million at the box office with the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic Avatar, helping it reclaim the all-time box office crown.

Imax theaters captured 30% of the movie’s weekend box office, despite accounting for only 1% of screens in the market. The strong performance helped Avatar once again become the top-grossing theatrical release of all time with more than $2.8 billion in ticket sales. Imax has now earned a lifetime box office of $249.5 million with Avatar, which remains the highest-grossing film in the high-definition 3D format.

“A big-screen sized thank you to Imax for their contribution to the success of Avatar at the box office,” producer Jon Landau said in a statement.

Imax CEO Rich Gelfond says Avatar changed “everything” for the exhibitor’s business model — catapulting brand awareness, notably in China.

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“Yet again, Chinese moviegoers are demonstrating the pent-up demand for theatrical blockbusters that awaits cinemas around the world as they reopen,” Gelfond said.

The original 2010 Imax 3D release of Avatar in China generated $24 million on only 14 screens — a per screen average of $1.7 million — and playing to round-the-clock sold out shows. The film jumpstarted Imax’s ascent to become one of the most recognized entertainment brands in China.

The following year, the exhibitor signed a 75-theater deal with Wanda — at the time the company’s biggest international theater deal ever — and established Imax China as its own wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. Today, China is Imax’s biggest market in terms of theaters with more than 700, and the market accounts for approximately one-third of the company’s annual global box office.

Nine out of the top 10 performing Chinese theaters screening Avatar over the weekend were Imax, and the film is the highest grossing re-release in 3D since Chinese theaters reopened in July.

With this weekend’s re-release, Avatar reclaimed the box office crown it relinquished to Disney/Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Imax holds a piece of the history of both films. Avengers: Endgame continues to hold the record for the biggest opening weekend of any Imax film ever, with $91.5 million worldwide, and was the second Hollywood film ever to be shot entirely with Imax cameras.

The second and third installments of the “Avatar” franchise are currently slated for December 2022 and 2024, respectively.

Starz Inks Multiyear Agreement for Lionsgate and Summit Label Movies

In another nod to over-the-top video distribution, Lionsgate and multiplatform subsidiary Starz March 2 announced the closing of a multiyear exclusive first window output deal for all theatrically released Lionsgate and Summit label movies when current agreements expire at the end of 2021 and end of 2022, respectively.

The agreement will bring to Starz movie franchises such as “John Wick,” starring Keanu Reeves; Borderlands, based on the best-selling video game franchise, directed by Eli Roth and starring Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jack Black; White Bird: A Wonder Story, featuring Helen Mirren and Gillian Anderson in the follow-up to Lionsgate’s box office hit Wonder; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, produced by Oscar winner James L. Brooks and adapted from the Judy Blume classic; and The Hunger Games prequel based on Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Future installments of the “Saw” franchise will also be included under the deal.

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“This agreement is the next logical step in capitalizing on the combination of our two companies,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. “It gives our brands and franchises an exciting new platform home, accelerates the convergence of our studio and platform businesses and will support Starz’s continued growth into one of the world’s leading premium subscription platforms.”

With 28 million subscribers, more than half of whom are streaming subscribers, Starz offers more than 7,500 premium TV episodes and feature films, including original series, first-run movies and other programming.  It recently launched #TakeTheLead initiative that spotlights a spectrum of women both in front of and behind the camera for audiences worldwide.

“Combining our strong slate of original programming focused on narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences with Lionsgate’s diverse pipeline of both commercially successful and critically acclaimed franchises further enhances the value proposition we bring to our subscribers and partners,” said Alison Hoffman, President of Domestic Networks for Starz, in a statement.

“Demand for movies has never been greater, and this agreement has significant benefits for our company, our consumers and our partners,” added Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution, in a statement.  “It represents a great opportunity to continue monetizing our robust theatrical slate while supporting the continued strong growth of Starz.”