Paramount Home Entertainment Revenue Up 14% Through Nine Months of 2020

Consumers love catalog and Miramax movies. That’s the bottom line as Paramount Pictures Nov. 6 reported that sales of packaged-media and transactional digital movies reached $533 million, which is up 13.8% from revenue of $468 million during the previous-year period. In the quarter, revenue topped $150 million, essentially flat with the $153 million generated in the previous-year period.

Primary sales drivers in the quarter included Paramount catalog and Miramax movies. Top-selling Paramount titles include Terminator: Dark Fate, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the original Top Gun.

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On the flipside, the famed studio generated just $6 million at the box office, underscoring ongoing fiscal challenges to the theater business due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the nine months of the fiscal year, revenue is down 58% to $176 million, from $418 million in the previous-year period. Parent ViacomCBS deemed theatrical revenue “immaterial” due to the closure or reduction in capacity of movie theaters in response to COVID-19.

To CEO Bob Bakish, the immediate future for Paramount lies in the 2021 rollout of SVOD platform Paramount+ and recent unification of ViacomCBS’s global streaming organization.

“Our company’s transformation is ahead of schedule and we are incredibly excited by the opportunities ahead,” Bakish said in a statement.

Paramount Home Entertainment Ups Q2 Revenue 30%

Home entertainment again proved to be an unspoken silver lining for a major studio under siege by a non-existent box office due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Paramount Home Entertainment on Aug. 6 reported $201 million in second-quarter (ended June 30) revenue, which was up nearly 30% from revenue of $161 million during the second quarter of 2019.

Through the first half of the fiscal year, sales of physical and digital content soared 21.5% at $383 million, compared to $315 million last year.

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Paramount Home Entertainment president Bob Buchi

Home entertainment revenue was driven by the mix of titles in release, including Sonic the Hedgehog, and higher sales of catalog titles such as Top Gun.

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As expected, theatrical revenue flatlined to $3 million due to theater closures, with half-year revenue at $170 million, down 52.4% from $324 million through the first six months of 2019.

Licensing revenue decreased 20% due to lower sales from licensing of catalog titles, as well as the timing of deliveries of programs produced for third parties. Notably, pre-tax studio earnings increased 22%, reflecting lower distribution costs resulting from the absence of theatrical releases in the quarter, as well as the strong performance of Hedgehog in the home entertainment market.

‘Sonic’ Tops Disc Sales for Sixth Week; ‘Top Gun’ Flies to No. 2

Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog spent its sixth consecutive week atop the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended June 27. The video game adaptation also returned to No. 1 on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

The six weeks is the longest a title has topped overall disc sales since Frozen spent eight straight weeks at No. 1 in 2014.

The week’s No. 2 disc seller was Paramount’s Top Gun. The 1986 action movie was recently re-released by the studio on 4K Ultra HD disc, though the UHD version accounted for just 7% of the title’s sales. With 26% of its total sales coming from Blu-ray Disc, Top Gun was No. 16 on the Blu-ray chart. A sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, is slated to hit theaters later this year.

No. 3 on the overall sales list and No. 2 on the Blu-ray list was Disney’s Onward.

Universal’s 1917 held steady at No. 4 overall and climbed a spot to No. 3 on the Blu-ray list.

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The No. 5 overall selling disc was Universal’s remake of The Invisible Man, which was No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 4 Blu-ray was Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which came in at No. 7 on the overall sales chart.

The No. 5 Blu-ray seller was Netflix’s first season of “Stranger Things,” which is available exclusively at Target. Copies of the season have been heavily discounted of late, with Target clearing them out at $3 each, which likely explains the recent spike in sales for the title.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 28, Universal’s The Hunt was the top title for the third consecutive week.

Universal’s The Invisible Man held steady at No. 2, with Sony Pictures’ Bloodshot moving up a spot to No. 3.

Rounding out the top five were Sony’s Bad Boys for Life at No. 4, and Sonic the Hedgehog at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 6-27-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 6-28-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 6-27-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 6-27-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 6-27-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 6-29-20

Top Gun

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount;
Action;
$14.99 Blu-ray, $22.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG.’
Stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Rick Rossovich, James Tolkan, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan.

The new Blu-ray editions of 1986’s Top Gun were clearly timed to coincide with what would have been the theatrical release of the film’s long-awaited sequel. However, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down theaters, Top Gun: Maverick was pushed back six months to Dec. 23.

The new Blu-ray does include a trailer for the new film, plus a new six-minute “The Legacy of Top Gun” featurette in which Tom Cruise and some of the filmmakers behind the sequel discuss the impact of the director Tony Scott’s original, which has become an iconic depiction of fighter aircraft combat action. The film still holds up well (despite some cheesy over-the-top machismo that is part of its charm).

Of course, the other thing the film is well known for is its beach volleyball scene that has fueled the film’s reputation as a homoerotic fantasy. The volleyball scene has become so intrinsically associated with the film that a recent board game based on the film lets players either try their hand at the airplane combat of the famed Top Gun dogfighting school, or simulate the volleyball game.

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The bright, vivid image of the new Blu-ray transfer shows off every detail, to the point where it’s impossible not to notice how almost everyone is sweating profusely in practically every scene (it must be hot on those airplanes and carriers). The disc also brings out the film’s legendary soundtrack in a 5.1 mix that perfectly services the action.

The other extra listed as new for this edition is the five-part half-hour retrospective “On Your Six: Thirty Years of Top Gun.” It’s filled with great stories about the production ( such as Scott getting a Navy captain to turn an aircraft carrier around in order to get the perfect lighting from the sun). It was obviously filmed a few years ago, since this year is the 34th anniversary of the film, and Cruise talks about having just read an early draft of the sequel screenplay (the same sequel that is now finished and waiting to hit theaters).

The Blu-ray also includes all the bonus material from previous releases, including a commentary with the filmmakers and naval experts; storyboards; vintage interviews; four music videos (which have not aged particularly well); an earlier behind-the-scenes featurette from the 2008 Blu-ray; and an interesting look at the real Top Gun school, also from 2008.

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Paramount Rolls Out Catalog Promotion, Aimed at Home Audiences, for ‘Top Gun’, Other Cruise Films

Paramount Pictures April 28 announced that the 1986 Tom Cruise classic Top Gun will become available for the first time on 4K Ultra HD Digital on May 13 — which fans branded as “Top Gun Day” more than a decade ago — with a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc release following on May 19.

The film, directed by Tony Scott, was a huge box office hit, earning $356 million — the equivalent of $840.2 million in today’s dollars. The U.S. Library of Congress in 2015 selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

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A sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, is scheduled for theatrical release on December 23, 2020. The release date was pushed back from June 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the mid-March closure of movie theaters.

Top Gun has been newly remastered for its home release in 4K Ultra HD. Home releases also will include a brand-new featurette that explores the film’s legacy and continued popularity through new interviews with Cruise, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and members of the cast of Top Gun: Maverick, including John Hamm, Miles Teller, Glen Powell and more.

The home release also includes a retrospective segment from 2016 looking back at 30 years of Top Gun. Additional previously released bonus content on the disc includes commentary by Bruckheimer, director Scott, co-screenwriter Jack Epps Jr. and naval experts; “Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun”; a look inside the real Top Gun; original theatrical promotional material; music videos; and more.

Paramount is also debuting on 4K Ultra HD two other Tom Cruise films on May 13 (digital) and May 19 (disc): Days of Thunder (1990) and War of the Worlds (2005).

Days of Thunder reteams Cruise with director Scott and producer Bruckheimer. Known for its spectacular racing action, the movie further cemented Cruise’s star status.  The new 4K Ultra HD release includes a brand-new featurette looking back on the production with Bruckheimer.

The Steven Spielberg-helmed War of the Worlds is a retelling of the H.G. Wells classic, which shot into notoriety in 1938 when a radio drama panicked listeners who thought it was real.

The film earned more than $600 million worldwide, the equivalent of nearly $800 million in today’s dollars.

The new 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo Pack includes access to a digital copy of the film, along with over an hour of previously released bonus content, including multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, production diaries, a look at the characters, and more.

China’s Tencent Partnering With Paramount on ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Top Gun’ Theatrical Releases

Tencent, the Chinese multinational entertainment conglomerate, Dec. 5 announced a partnership and co-financing deal with Paramount Pictures for the studio’s upcoming Bumblebee theatrical release, in addition to next year’s Top Gun sequel featuring Tom Cruise.

Tencent, which operates numerous entertainment ventures in China, including Netflix knockoff Tencent Video, separately filed a $1.4 billion IPO for its Tencent Music branded streaming service.

As an investor and co-marketing partner, Tencent Pictures will assist with the marketing and promotions of Bumblebee in mainland China. Hasbro, creator and owner of the Transformers brand on which the film franchise is based, is also a co-financier on Bumblebee.

Starring Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 3The Edge of Seventeen), John Cena (Blockers, Trainwreck), and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Love, Simon, Spiderman: Homecoming)Bumblebee is an Autobot character set in 1987 as a prequel to the Transformers franchise.

Bumblebee represents Tencent’s first international project after Warner Bros.’ Venom and its first collaboration with Paramount. Other Hollywood domestic collaborations include Warcraft, Kong: Skull IslandWonder Woman, La La Land and Ready Player One.

“Tencent’s involvement in many high-profile international projects has demonstrated its strong capacity in marketing campaigns in China,” Jim Gianopulos, CEO, Paramount Pictures, said in a statement.