Universal’s ‘Trolls World Tour’ Debuts Atop U.K. Official Film Chart

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s animated Trolls World Tour is the gift that keeps giving during the coronavirus pandemic. The $100 million PVOD hit in the United States, entered the United Kingdom retail market at No. 1, outselling the other top-five titles combined on digital downloads.

The sequel to Trolls (2016) stars the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake and Rachel Bloom alongside a list of music and television stars, including Ozzy Osbourne, James Corden, Mary J. Blige and Kelly Clarkson. In this follow-up to the hugely popular musical film, Queen Barb of the Hard Rock Trolls (Bloom) tries to take over the six Troll Kingdoms — Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock — and it’s up to Queen Poppy (Kendrick) and her friends to unify all Trolls and save their kingdoms.

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Disney’s Frozen II climbed to the second spot, followed by Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog in third. The previous week’s chart topper, Military Wives (Lionsgate U.K.) fell to fourth, while Warner’s Birds of Prey and Joker follow in fifth and sixth. Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle (Universal) dropped to seventh, and eOne’s 1917 finished in eighth.

Disney/Marvel’s record-breaking Avengers: Endgame moved back into the top 10 in the ninth spot following the release of a collector’s edition Steelbook packaged-media release. Finally, Le Mans ’66 (Disney/Fox) climbed to 10th.

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Restocking the Shelves, Part Four: Maximizing Recent Releases

Deep catalog product isn’t the only part of the studio library fueling home entertainment as theatrical titles are stalled during the pandemic.

Jason Spivak, EVP of U.S. distribution at Sony Pictures Television Distribution, notes that Sony Pictures had a full pipeline of high-profile product when the pandemic hit. “And we’ve been actively promoting those titles to keep them top of mind, as well as releases from the end of last year, like Little Women and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” he says.

“Mother’s Day gave us an opportunity to revisit one of our more recent releases, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women,” adds Sony Pictures Home Entertainment senior EVP of worldwide marketing Lexine Wong. “Our team worked with Hello Sunshine to help launch a brand-new online series called ‘Comedians on Classics’ just in time for the holiday. The content featured rising female comedian Taylor Tomlinson giving a fresh and hilarious take on the beloved Louisa May Alcott story, which resonated with the film’s audience. The video has been viewed over 515,000 times since launch.”

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is coming up with inventive ways to market films that premiered digitally at premium prices (due to the theaters shutting down) once they become available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and regular digital channels.

“With captive at-home audiences demonstrating a heightened need for great family entertainment during this time, we recognized a unique opportunity to evolve and elevate our new home entertainment release for Trolls World Tour to fit the tone and tenor of the moment,” says Hilary Hoffman, EVP of global marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. “We created a robust Dance Party Edition offering that includes dynamic song and dance elements and all-new character-driven short-form content, we launched TikTok and Zoom-style Trolls music videos, and we adapted other marketing efforts to virtual tactics to remain connected to consumers in real time and further keep Trolls World Tour relevant.”

At Warner Bros., the May release of Scoob! was the studio’s first-ever PVOD and premium digital ownership title. The animated film came to market through “a tremendous joint effort between our theatrical team and home entertainment,” says Jessica Schell, EVP and GM, film, for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “When the health crisis hit and the decision was made to release Scoob! in homes, the marketing campaign for the film shifted from theatrical to at-home messaging and we enjoyed a very successful release. International release plans were just announced and it will be a mix of theatrical exhibition in markets where theaters are open, and premium in-home viewing.”

Schell says the film has become Warner Bros.’ No. 1 digital release, ever.  “We recently announced our 4K and Blu-ray release dates for Scoob!,” Schell says, “and we are leveraging the extensive at-home messaging and awareness from the May debut and are drafting heavily on the film’s success to continue strong sales through our physical availability.”

See also: Restocking the Shelves, Part Three: Seeing Through Windows

See also: Restocking the Shelves, Part Two: Home Entertainment Marketing Shifts Into High Gear

See also: Restocking the Shelves, Part One: Home Entertainment Divisions Mine Catalog as Theatrical Slate Stalls

Bob Bakish

Home entertainment’s success in supporting new releases cut off by theater closings is attracting attention from the studio hierarchy. Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS, Paramount Pictures’ parent company, sang the praises of home entertainment during a presentation during the first Credit Suisse Virtual Communication Confab in mid-June. He said home entertainment has helped Paramount justify capital spending on new movies during a year of uncertainty.

“We sold The Lovebirds [to Netflix] early in the COVID-19 window,” he said. “We also accelerated the EST window with Sonic [the Hedgehog], which performed very well for us.”

The movie, starring Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, grossed more than $300 million at the global box office before the theatrical shutdown.

The executive said the company is monetizing the Paramount library by releasing more than 100 movies via CBS All Access and through the “Sunday Night Movie” on the Paramount Network.

While the theatrical pipeline may be stalled for now, home entertainment executives look forward to its robust return.

Ron Schwartz

Ron Schwartz, the longtime president of worldwide home entertainment at Lionsgate, says the entertainment industry is united in helping the theatrical exhibition business return to full strength quickly.

“We, like everybody else, are eager to see our partners in the theater business open again soon,” he says. “We want to see crowds again flock to theaters, to see tentpoles and art-house films, to buy concessions and to enjoy a tremendous community experience that has made our industry so special for so many years. It’s an important part of our ecosystem, and we’re all looking forward to a safe and productive return to the movie-going experience, which we believe is right around the corner.”

Some challenges lie ahead, Schwartz says: “What will exhibition look like when theaters reopen? What’s going to happen with capacity? We can’t rush back, but we have to make sure we give theaters enough great content so they can re-open quickly, successfully, and thrive.”

The home entertainment side of the business, Schwartz says, will remain catalog-driven until theaters have fully re-opened and the supply of theatrical titles has been completely replenished. “We will continue to work with our retail partners to come up with creative ideas, dig deep into our catalogs, and look for repromotes and anniversaries — any opportunities to engage the consumer,” he says.

Schwartz says he is heartened that during the stay-at-home period, the public’s love of movies, TV shows and other filmed content seemed to intensify.

“The one thing we’ve all seen is a love of content,” he says. “We’re seeing it consumed like never before — physical, streaming, transactional, packages — and it is clearly evident that the public’s appetite to consume our product is not only healthy but still growing. That’s why I remain so bullish about our business.”

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final installment in a four-part series, “Restocking the Shelves: With No Theatrical Releases, Studio Home Entertainment Marketers are Getting Creative.” The complete story will be available in the July print and digital editions of ‘Media Play News.’

‘Trolls World Tour’ Dominates Weekly Disc Sales

After weeks without a major new DVD or Blu-ray release, the conditions were ripe for Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour to dominate the national home video sales charts.

Indeed, the DreamWorks Animation sequel easily 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 July 11.

In addition, a combo pack of both “Trolls” movies was No. 2 on both charts.

In fact, with the 2016 Trolls movie on the charts at No. 35, “Trolls” discs accounted for 71% of unit sales among the entire top 50.

No. 3 on both charts was Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which has spent six of the past seven weeks as the top-selling disc.

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Paramount’s Top Gun was No. 4 on the overall disc chart, and No. 19 on the Blu-ray chart. The No. 5 overall disc seller was Warner’s The Mule.

The previous week’s top overall seller, Lionsgate’s Force of Nature, slipped to No. 6 overall and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 5 Blu-ray was Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which was No. 23 on the overall chart.

The only other new release of note to crack the charts was a catalog title: the Criterion Collection’s new Blu-ray edition of the 1953 sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds debuted at No. 15 on the Blu-ray chart.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 61% of Trolls World Tour unit sales, with the 4K Ultra HD version comprising 6% of the total.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended July 12 also had Trolls World Tour in the top spot, pushing Force of Nature to No. 2.

Rounding out the top five rentals were Redbox’s Becky dropping a pot to No. 3, Universal’s The Invisible Man holding at No. 4, and Universal’s The Hunt down two spots to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 7-11-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 7-12-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 7-11-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 7-11-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 7-11-20

‘Trolls World Tour’ Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart for Second Week

DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed by Universal Pictures, topped the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 11.

It’s the animated sequel’s second week atop the chart that  tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The film was released for digital sellthrough June 23, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD disc July 7.

Screen Media’s VOD war film The Outpost climbed three spots to No. 2. Based on the 2012 book by Jake Tapper about the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan, the film stars Orlando Bloom and Scott Eastwood.

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Homebound consumers continued to be enthralled with the TV series “Yellowstone,” the three seasons of which rounded out the top five: season three at No. 3, season one at No. 4, and season two at No. 5.

For the most part the list contained the same titles as the previous week. Lionsgate’s Force of Nature, about a family defending their home from thieves during a hurricane in Puerto Rico, rose from No. 17 a week earlier, when it was the top-selling disc on the NPD VideoScan chart, to No. 9.

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  8. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  9. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  10. The Hunt (Universal)
  11. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  12. The Gentlemen (Universal/STX)
  13. The Call of the Wild (Disney)
  14. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  15. 1917 (Universal)
  16. Jungle Beat: The Movie (Sandcastle)
  17. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  18. Bloodshot (Sony)
  19. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  20. Dolittle (Universal)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended July 11

 

‘Trolls World Tour’ Tops Redbox Charts

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Trolls World Tour debuted at No. 1 on both Redbox’s disc and digital charts the week ended July 12.

The DreamWorks Animation sequel to 2016’s Trolls reportedly earned more than $100 million through premium VOD after its theatrical launch was scrubbed due to the coronavirus pandemic, though the film did play in a handful of drive-in theaters.

The previous week’s top title on both charts, Lionsgate’s Force of Nature, slipped to No. 2.

Redbox’s own Becky dropped a spot to No. 3 on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks. It was No. 10 on the digital chart.

Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man slid to No. 3 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions. It was No. 4 on the disc chart.

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The No. 4 On Demand title was Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life, which was No. 7 on the disc chart.

Universal’s The Hunt, the top disc rental the previous three weeks, was No. 5 on both charts.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended July 12:

  1. Trolls World Tour — Universal
  2. Force of Nature — Lionsgate
  3. Becky — Redbox
  4. The Invisible Man (2020) — Universal
  5. The Hunt — Universal
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog — Paramount
  7. Bad Boys for Life — Sony Pictures
  8. Proximity — Shout! Factory
  9. Bloodshot — Sony Pictures
  10. The Call of the Wild — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended July 12:

  1. Trolls World Tour — Universal
  2. Force of Nature — Lionsgate
  3. The Invisible Man (2020) — Universal
  4. Bad Boys for Life — Sony Pictures
  5. The Hunt — Universal
  6. The Outpost — Screen Media
  7. Blood and Money — Screen Media
  8. The Swing of Things — Lionsgate
  9. The Equalizer 2 — Sony Pictures
  10. Becky — Redbox

 

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Universal’s ‘Trolls World Tour’ Headlines U.K.’s ‘FindAnyFilm’ Retail Video

With the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market — and second-largest subscriber base for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — the United Kingdom represents both opportunity and challenge for U.S. studios.

With the U.K. slowly embracing a return to normal following the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, the British Association for Screen Entertainment — with a mandate to “champion growth across the home entertainment market” — has released its quarterly “FindAnyFilm.com” video showcasing new and pending movie/TV show releases available in retail channels.

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The website is similar to Movies Anywhere in the U.S., an agnostic platform aimed at jumpstarting digital home entertainment retail, except that it also aggressively pushes packaged media, including Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K UHD Blu-ray, and cinema.

“It’s a trailer we make every quarter, detailing new [disc] titles coming to market in the U.K.,” BASE’s Andy Neilson said in an email.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has seized the moment, aggressively marketing erstwhile theatrical releases on FindAnyFilm. Veteran studio boss Eddie Cunningham cut his teeth as chairman of U.K. operations and regional managing director for Australia, New Zealand and the Nordic countries.

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Headlining the video is Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour, the scuttled theatrical release that exploded in popularity (and revenue) in the U.S. due to early release on premium video-on-demand. The sequel streets in the U.K. on July 27. The title generated more than $100 million in three weeks release, prompting Universal to declare it would continue PVOD distribution going forward.

Other promotional titles include Universal’s The High Note, which streets in the U.S. on packaged media Aug. 11, Military Wives, which hits retail channels on Aug. 18, The King of Staten Island (Aug. 25), and Dark Waters, which was released in March. Other featured title: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Fantasy Island, which hit the street in the U.S. on May 12.

‘Trolls World Tour’ Jumps to Top Spot on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed by Universal Pictures, pushed to the top of the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 4. The animated film was released for digital sellthrough June 23 and was No. 2 the previous week on the chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The film was released for premium VOD in April instead of its intended widespread theatrical release, but the DEG doesn’t track films marked as PVOD until their traditional home entertainment window.

Trolls World Tour was released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD disc July 7 so it should continue to hold a high place on the chart for the next several weeks.

Homebound consumers continued to be enthralled with the TV series “Yellowstone,” which occupied the next three spots on the chart. The third season, which topped the chart the previous week, slipped to No. 2. Season one was No. 3 and season two was No. 4.

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No. 5 was a regular VOD release, Screen Media’s war film The Outpost. Based on the 2012 book by Jake Tapper about the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan, the film stars Orlando Bloom and Scott Eastwood.

The American Fourth of July holiday helped push the Fox catalog title Independence Day from 1996 into the top 20, at No. 8.

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount
  4. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  5. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  7. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  8. Independence Day (Fox)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  11. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  12. The Call of the Wild (Disney)
  13. Jungle Beat: The Movie (Sandcastle)
  14. The Gentlemen (Universal/STX)
  15. 1917 (Universal)
  16. The Hunt (Universal)
  17. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  18. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  19. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  20. Onward (Disney)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended July 4

 

Merchandising: ‘Trolls World Tour’ Dances to Shelves

After weeks of thin selection of new releases at stores, Universal’s Trolls World Tour hit disc July 7, with each of the big three retailers offering an exclusive edition.

Best Buy had its typical 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook combo pack, priced at $32.99

Best Buy’s ‘Trolls World Tour’ Steelbook

Target offered the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack with a 40-page “The Art of Trolls World Tour” filmmaker gallery book for $26.99.

Target’s ‘Trolls World Tour’ Blu-ray with gallery book

And Walmart offered the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack as a gift set with pack-in Funko Pop keychains for $27.96.

Walmart’s ‘Trolls World Tour’ gift set with keychains

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‘Yellowstone’ Fever, ‘Trolls’ Mania Grip Home Viewers

Homebound consumers were enthralled with the TV series “Yellowstone” the week ended June 27, with all three seasons of the contemporary Western drama landing in the top five of the weekly “Watched at Home” chart.

Meanwhile, the digital sellthrough release of Trolls World Tour gave the animated family film, from DreamWorks Animation, a No. 2 debut on the chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Trolls World Tour was the first big feature film to premier digitally instead of in theaters since the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of movie theaters. The film was released April 10 on premium video-on-demand (PVOD) at a 48-hour rental price of $19.99.

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After slightly more than two weeks, distributor Universal Pictures announced the film, a sequel to 2016’s Trolls, had generated $100 million in revenue from its PVOD release. Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” analyst Richard Greenfield a day before the film’s debut said, “It’s a pretty monumental day in the film industry where a mainstream consumer movie … is going to skip the theaters…. I’m certainly rooting for them to do well because I think this is an important model for the industry.”

Trolls World Tour will be issued on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD on July 7.

The third season of “Yellowstone” debuted at No. 1 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart. The season debuted on linear TV June 21, but season passes are currently on sale through digital retailers like Amazon Prime Video and FandangoNow at $19.99 HD and $14.99 SD, even though episodes will only become available a day after they are broadcast. As of this week, the first two episodes in season 3 can be purchased individually for $2.99 HD and $1.99 SD.

The two earlier seasons are both available for digital and physical purchase. Yellowstone Season 1, initially released in December 2018, rose to No. 3 on the chart after shooting up to No. 4 the prior week in the wake of the third season’s linear debut.

Yellowstone: Season 2, released on DVD in November 2019, rose to No. 4 after debuting in the top 20 the prior week at No. 10.

According to Deadline, the Season 3 debut of “Yellowstone” on June 21 across four networks – three Paramount Network telecasts and three simulcasts on CMT, TV Land and Pop – attracted 6.6 million total viewers, making it the top cable premiere so far this year.

Featuring a cast headed by Kevin Costner, “Yellowstone” is centered around the conflicts between a cattle ranch, an Indian reservation and land developers, all of whom share common borders.

Rounding out the top five is Universal Pictures’ acclaimed The Invisible Man remake, which slipped to No. 5 after topping the chart the prior week.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  2. Trolls World Tour (DreamWorks/Universal)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount
  4. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  5. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  7. The Hunt (Universal)
  8. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  9. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  10. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  11. 1917 (Universal)
  12. The Call of the Wild (Disney)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  14. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  15. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  16. Onward (Disney)
  17. Fantasy Island (Sony, 2020)
  18. Dolittle (Universal)
  19. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  20. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended June 27

Analyst: Studios, Exhibitors Will Shrink Theatrical Window

With the success of Universal Pictures’ PVOD release of Trolls Word Tour, and the studio’s plan to distribute future theatrical feature films concurrent with digital retail, Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter contends a compromise between studios and exhibitors resulting in a shorter theatrical window is coming.

With studios reportedly making 80% on a movie’s digital release compared with 50% for theatrical, the incentive to go direct-to-consumer is financially appealing. At the same time, theatrical revenue and home entertainment marketing for major movie franchises such as “Fast & Furious,” “Star Wars,” “Mission: Impossible,” “James Bond” and “Spider-Man,” among others, is immense.

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Universal’s next major PVOD release, The King of Staten Island from director Judd Apatow, is slated for June 12. And Disney is expected to release smaller movies on its Disney+ SVOD platform.

“We very much believe in the value of the theatrical experience,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on the recent fiscal call. “But we also believe that either because of changing and evolving consumer dynamics or because of certain situations like COVID, we may have to make some changes to that overall strategy.”

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Pachter said he views Disney’s tepid approach to transactional VOD as limited in the long-term. He says Disney’s switch will spark further debate and negotiations on the existing theatrical windows and revenue share agreements.

“What we expect is that the exhibitors will make some small concessions on the windows or revenue share for these smaller films that would otherwise go to PVOD, so that all parties can maximize profitability, but the exhibitors cannot bend on simultaneous releases or they will go out of business,” Pachter wrote in a June 8 note. “The studios do not have any incentive to push the exhibitors out of business, and we believe that a mutually beneficial arrangement can be found before the studios begin releasing new content to theaters later this year or in 2021.”