Robin Wright Directorial Debut ‘Land’ Due on Digital April 27, Disc May 11

The drama Land, starring and directed by Robin Wright, will come out on digital April 27 and on Blu-ray and DVD May 11 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

From acclaimed actress Wright (Wonder Woman, “House of Cards”) comes her feature film directorial debut, the story of one woman’s search for meaning in the vast and harsh American wilderness. Edee (Wright), in the aftermath of an unfathomable event, finds herself unable to stay connected to the world she once knew, and in the face of that uncertainty, retreats to the magnificent, but unforgiving, wilds of the Rockies. After a local hunter (Demian Bichir, The Hateful Eight, “Weeds”) brings her back from the brink of death, she must find a way to live again.

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Bonus features on Blu-ray, DVD and digital include “Crafting Land,” in which filmmakers and cast discuss how shooting in such a beautiful but brutal location added unique challenges and a distinct authenticity; “Robin Wright: Feature Film Directorial Debut,” in which Wright reveals why this project stood out from the others she considered for her feature film directorial debut, and how directing the film gave her a unique perspective on what she needed to give as an actress; and “After the Trauma,” examining the mental process Edee goes through in the aftermath of tragedy, how her pain is relatable, and why this was the perfect time to tell such an uplifting story.

‘The Croods: A New Age’ Tops March Disc Sales, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ No. 2

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Croods: A New Age was No. 1 on the top 10 list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for March 2021 according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service.

It’s the second month in a row topped by the DreamWorks Animation sequel, which was released on disc Feb. 23 and spent four weeks atop the weekly disc sales charts. It also remains the top-selling disc of the year so far.

Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 was the No. 2 seller in March despite having just two days to make the chart after its release on DVD and Blu-ray March 30. Those two days of sales were apparently also enough to push the superhero sequel to the No. 2 seller for the year to date as well.

The No. 3 March seller was Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter, which was released on disc at the beginning of the month.

Disney’s Soul, the latest animated movie from Pixar, was the No. 4 seller for the month, having been released on Blu-ray and DVD March 23.

Rounding out the month’s top five was Universal’s News of the World.

A two-movie “Croods” collection moved up to No. 6 after debuting at No. 8 in February. The rest of the top 10 monthly sellers consisted of catalog titles.

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On the year-to-date chart, Monster Hunter grabbed the No. 3 spot, pushing Universal and STX Films’ Greenland to No. 4, two spots lower than its position after February.

Soul by the end of March reached the No. 5 spot for the year.

Paramount’s Love and Monsters slipped two spots on the yearly chart to No. 6, though it did climb over Warner’s Tenet, which slipped five spots to No. 8. In between them, at No. 7, is News of the World.

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According to NPD, the March 2021 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  3. Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  4. Soul (Disney)
  5. News of the World (Universal)
  6. The Croods 2-Movie Collection (Universal/DreamWorks)
  7. Neighbors 2-Movie Collection (Universal)
  8. Friday 3-Movie Collection (Warner)
  9. Rush Hour Trilogy (Warner)
  10. The House With a Clock In Its Walls (Universal)

 

Year-to-date Top 10 (through March 2021):

  1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  3. Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  4. Greenland (Universal/STX)
  5. Soul (Disney)
  6. Love and Monsters (Paramount)
  7. News of the World (Universal)
  8. Tenet (Warner)
  9. Justice League (Warner)
  10. The Meg (Warner)

 

‘The Croods: A New Age’ Tops February Disc Sales, Jumps to No. 1 for 2021

Faith-Based ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Coming to DVD and VOD May 11

The faith-based film My Brother’s Keeper will arrive on DVD and VOD May 11 from Collide Distribution in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, which shares a story of faith and forgiveness in the wake of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, was directed by Kevan Otto (A Question of Faith, Forgiven) and written by U.S. Army Veteran Ty Manns (A Question of Faith, The 5th quarter). The film stars T.C. Stallings (War Room, A Question of Faith), Joey Lawrence (“Melissa & Joey”, “Blossom,” “Hawaii Five-0”), Robert Ri’chard (Coach Carter, “Empire”) and Keshia Knight Pulliam (“The Cosby Show”).

My Brother’s Keeper follows the story of returning war veteran SFC Travis Fox (Stallings), who has one more battle to fight — PTSD.  Fox and his best friend Ron “Preach” Pearcy (Lawrence) are in their sixth combat deployment when Preach and his entire Ranger platoon are killed in a deadly improvised explosive device attack. Travis returns to his hometown to settle the affairs of his parents who had passed away years before. In searching for answers about his parents, he also discovers a new obstacle in PTSD. He finds support from church counselor Tiffany Robertson (Knight-Pulliam) and slowly begins to rediscover his faith in God, until he uncovers a secret hidden by his best friend Donnie Berry (Ri’chard) that threatens his new-found faith, restores his guilt and causes him to consider the unthinkable.

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The film also had a theatrical run.

“It was so encouraging that many theaters across the U.S. re-opened their theaters with My Brother’s Keeper, a desperately needed story of hope,” Manns said in a statement. “It is also an incredible honor that the film was able to play on military bases and at the National Infantry Museum. We pray that, as the film becomes available to larger audiences through home entertainment, the story continues to give encouragement to those struggling with issues of PTSD, forgiveness, and loss. A reminder that, no matter what the situation, there is always hope.”

News of the World

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Western;
Box Office $12.6 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, disturbing images, thematic material and some language.
Stars Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Elizabeth Marvel, Ray McKinnon, Mare Winningham, Bill Camp, Thomas Francis Murphy, Fred Hechinger.

British director Paul Greengrass takes a step back from his political thriller comfort zone with a foray into an iconic American genre, the Western, with News of the World, adapted from the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles.

In his Blu-ray commentary, Greengrass, who co-wrote the screenplay in addition to directing, reveals he was attracted to the project because he wanted to make something with a happier outcome than his usual fare.

The result is a relatively quiet, contemplative journey through an uncertain period of American history.

Tom Hanks delivers his usual solid performance as Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a former Confederate soldier in the Civil War who, in the film’s setting of 1870, makes a meager living traveling from town to town throughout Texas to inform the residents of world events by reading from the latest newspapers. Kidd injects the readings with a dash of showmanship to hold the attention of the rapt audiences, though occasionally encounters some hostility when he broaches topics the locals aren’t too keen to hear about (not unlike modern cable news).

On one journey through the back roads, he encounters the remnants of an attack on a wagon that has left as the lone survivor a young blond girl named Johanna (newcomer Helena Zengel), whom he learns was the child of German settlers who had been seized years earlier by Kiowa Indians and raised as one of their own, but had been recently re-captured and was being returned to her family. A local Army officer washes his hands of the matter, suggesting Kidd either wait three months to turn her over to a liaison officer, or accompany her himself — a perilous journey back toward Kidd’s hometown of San Antonia through dangerous terrain that has vastly changed since Kidd last made his way through there.

Compounding Kidd’s task is that Johanna knows nothing of white man’s customs and seems prone to run away any chance she gets.

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The premise plays a bit like an inverse of “The Searchers,” in which John Wayne’s objective was to track down the white girl raised by Indians. As Kidd tries to teach Johanna about her true heritage, she helps him confront some of the demons of his past that led him to a life on the road, and in their bonding they begin to rediscover their purpose. It’s a bit like the Old West version of “Punky Brewster” (the original 1980s version, not the sappy revival).

News of the World is beautifully shot, the Oscar-nominated cinematography showcasing sprawling landscapes of gorgeous but gritty Texas wilderness. This isn’t the romanticized glamorous Wild West of yore, and the hardships of those trying to tame the land come blaring through the screen.

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The News of the World 4K Ultra HD combo pack includes the film on both a 4K and a regular Blu-ray disc, with the same extras on each; the 4K disc offers them in UHD resolution.

In addition to a solo Greengrass commentary that is a good mix of recap and analysis, the disc includes seven deleted scenes running a total of 11 minutes. These offer some interesting character moments, including some backstory about Kidd’s horses.

Also included are four behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about a half-hour in total. The seven-minute “Partners: Tom Hanks & Helena Zengel” focuses on the two main characters, while the seven-and-a-half-minute “Western Action” deals with the challenges of shooting the genre on location. The 11-minute “Paul Greengrass Makes News of the World” is a more generalized look a the making of the movie, covering some of the same ground Greengrass discusses in his commentary. Finally, there’s the four-minute “The Kiowa” featurette that details how modern members of the Kiowa tribe served as consultants on the film to aid the authenticity of the portrayal of the time period and their ancestors.

 

‘News of the World’ Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart; ‘Soul’ Debuts at No. 4

Universal Pictures’ News of the World climbed to No. 1 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended March 27, bolstered by its March 23 release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD. It had been No. 13 the previous week and No. 11 the week before that following its March 9 bow via digital sellthrough.

The Western stars Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to people in frontier towns, whose travels get sidetracked when he is encounters a young white girl who had been captured and raised by Indians, and is tasked with returning her to her family. It earned $12.6 million at the domestic box office.

Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age, which had topped the Watched at Home Chart for four straight weeks, dropped to No. 2.The DreamWorks Animation sequel features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Peter Dinklage, and follows the caveman Crood family as they encounter the more civilized Bettermans.

That pushed Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter, starring Milla Jovovich as the leader of a military unit battling deadly creatures from another world, to No. 3 on the Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental).

The week’s top newcomer to the list was Disney’s Soul, the lauded Pixar Animation Studios film that as a result of the pandemic bypassed theaters and was released directly through the Disney+ streaming service Dec. 25, though it did make $116.8 million at the international box office in territories where Disney+ isn’t available. Soul was made available through disc and digital sellthrough March 23.

Rounding out the top five was Universal Pictures’ Promising Young Woman. The revenge thriller starring Carey Mulligan slipped a spot from the previous week.

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Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984, which became available for digital sellthrough March 16, dropped two spots to No. 6, but should get a boost in the coming week thanks to its release on all disc formats March 30.

Warner’s 2014 Godzilla movie made its first appearance on the Watched at Home chart at No. 17 thanks to a March 23 re-release of the film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in the lead-up to the March 31 U.S. release of Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and on HBO Max.

No. 20 was another newcomer, Vertical Entertainment’s The Devil Below, a monster movie about four amateur explorers who pay a visit to Shookum Hills, a town in the remote Appalachian Mountains that was abandoned decades ago due to a mysterious coal mine fire. It has been available for digital purchase and VOD since March 5.

  1. News of the World (Universal)
  2.  The Croods: A New Age (Universal)
  3.  Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  4. Soul (Disney)
  5. Promising Young Woman (Universal)
  6. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  7. Girl in the Basement (A+E)
  8. Greenland (Universal/STX)
  9. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  10. Wrong Turn (2021) (Lionsgate)
  11. Tenet (Warner)
  12. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  13. Let Him Go (Universal)
  14. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  15. Fatale (Lionsgate)
  16. Crisis (Quiver)
  17. Godzilla (2014, Warner)
  18. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  19. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  20. The Devil Below (Vertical)

 

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 March 27.

‘News of the World’ Debuts at No. 1 on Redbox Disc and Digital Charts

Universal Pictures’ News of the World debuted at No. 1 on the Redbox disc rental chart the week ended March 28, and also moved into the top spot on the Redbox On Demand chart for the week.

The Western stars Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to people in frontier towns, whose travels get sidetracked when he is encounters a young white girl who had been captured and raised by Indians, and is tasked with returning her to her family. It earned $12.6 million at the domestic box office.

That pushed Universal’s The Croods: A New Age to the No. 2 spot on both charts. The DreamWorks Animation sequel had been the top disc rental for the previous two weeks.

No. 3 on both charts was Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s video game adaptation Monster Hunter.

The No. 4 title on the disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, was the Redbox exclusive SAS: Red Notice, an action movie in which a British officer confronts a mercenary who has hijacked a high-speed train in the Channel Tunnel.

The No. 5 disc rental was Universal’s Promising Young Woman. The Oscar nominee was No. 4 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions.

Warner’s The Little Things, a crime drama starring Denzel Washington, Jared Leto and Rami Malek, entered the On Demand chart at No. 5 after becoming available for premium VOD viewing March 19. It will be available for digital sellthrough April 20 and on disc May 4.

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A couple other newcomers landed on both charts as well. One was the Redbox exclusive The Seventh Day, a horror film starring Guy Pearce. It tells the story of a renowned exorcist who teams up with a rookie priest to battle demons.

Another was Lionsgate’s Hero Dog: The Journey Home, a family adventure about a blind man lost in the cold wilderness, who is aided by a brave malamute in his efforts to return to his family.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 28:

  1. News of the World — Universal
  2. The Croods: A New Age — Universal/DreamWorks
  3. Monster Hunter — Sony Pictures
  4. SAS: Red Notice — Redbox
  5. Promising Young Woman — Universal
  6. The Seventh Day — Redbox
  7. Greenland — Universal/STX
  8. Soul — Disney/Pixar
  9. Hero Dog: The Journey Home — Lionsgate
  10. Breaking News in Yuba County — Warner

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 28:

  1. News of the World — Universal
  2. The Croods: A New Age — Universal/DreamWorks
  3. Monster Hunter — Sony Pictures
  4. Promising Young Woman — Universal
  5. The Little Things — Warner
  6. Fatale — Lionsgate
  7. Greenland — STX
  8. Wrong Turn (2021) — Lionsgate
  9. Hero Dog: The Journey Home — Lionsgate
  10. The Seventh Day — Redbox

 

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‘Croods’ Sequel Leads ‘Watched at Home’ Chart for Fourth Straight Week; ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Joins the List at No. 3

DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age again took the top spot on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended March 20. A computer-animated sequel to 2013’s The CroodsA New Age, distributed by Universal Pictures, has topped the Watched at Home chart for four straight weeks and five out of six since it debuted on digital sellthrough Feb. 9. It arrived on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 23. The film features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Peter Dinklage, and follows the caveman Crood family as they encounter the more civilized Bettermans.

Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter, starring Milla Jovovich as the leader of a military unit battling deadly creatures from another world, spent a third-straight week at No. 2 on the Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental).

The only newcomer making its first appearance in the top 20 during the week was Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984, which became available for digital sellthrough March 16 in advance of its March 30 release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 3D Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot reprising the title superheroine, this time facing a global crisis after a corrupt businessman obtains a magical stone that grants wishes to everyone in the world. It earned $45.6 million at the domestic box office during a theatrical run that saw it available simultaneously for streaming on HBO Max starting on Christmas. It was then released through premium VOD Feb. 12.

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Oscar nominee Promising Young Woman moved up six spots to No. 4 following its March 16 Blu-ray Disc and DVD release. The revenge thriller from Universal Pictures stars Carey Mulligan as a former medical student who was headed for success until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future.

Rounding out the top five was STX Films’ Greenland, distributed on disc by Universal Pictures. The sci-fi drama, which stars Gerard Butler as a man trying to get his family to a military shelter when comets threaten to wipe out life on Earth, was ranked third the previous two week and has been a top-five title for eight straight weeks.

  1.  The Croods: A New Age (Universal)
  2.  Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  3. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  4. Promising Young Woman (Universal)
  5. Greenland (Universal/STX)
  6. Wrong Turn (2021) (Lionsgate)
  7. Girl in the Basement (A+E)
  8. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. Fatale (Lionsgate)
  10. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  11. Tenet (Warner)
  12. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  13. News of the World (Universal)
  14. Let Him Go (Universal)
  15. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  16. Crisis (Quiver)
  17. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  18. Paw Patrol (Paramount/Nickelodeon)
  19. Game of Thrones: The Complete Series (Warner/HBO)
  20. The Office: The Complete Series (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 March 20.

‘The Croods: A New Age’ Grabs Top Spot on Disc Sales Charts for Fourth Week

Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age remained No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week 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 March 20. The double feature set of both “Croods” movies dropped a spot to No. 4 on both charts.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter held on the No. 2 spot on both charts for the third consecutive week, selling about half as many copies as the DreamWorks Animation sequel.

The dearth in a high volume of new releases being offered at retail has resulted not only in a lack of turnover in the top spots the previous few weeks, but also a rise in catalog titles moving back up the charts as stores conduct a number of clearance and deep-discount sales.

The No. 3 overall disc seller was Universal’s Neighbors 2-Movie Collection, a 2016 DVD-only release that can be had for as low as $5 at sites such as Amazon.com. No. 5 overall was 2018’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls, also from Universal, which had just 1% of its sales come from Blu-ray so it didn’t appear on the top 25 Blu-ray chart.

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The week’s top newcomer was another Universal Pictures release, Oscar nominee Promising Young Woman, which arrived at No. 8 on the overall disc chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray Disc chart. The film, which stars Carey Mulligan as a young woman on a mission of revenge after her bright prospects for the future were derailed by a mysterious event, has earned $5.8 million at the domestic box office and $10.9 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film among the eight Best Picture Oscar nominees in the pandemic-hampered release year. Promising Young Woman had 60% of its total sales come from the Blu-ray format.

The No. 5 Blu-ray Disc seller was Mill Creek Entertainment’s new Steelbook edition of the 1986 BMX racing movie Rad starring Bill Allen, Lori Loughlin, Talia Shire and Ray Walston.

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The Media Play News rental chart the week ended March 21 had The Croods: A New Age at No. 1 for a second consecutive week, and the third time in four weeks since it arrived on disc.

Promising Young Woman — debuted as the No. 2 rental, pushing Monster Hunter to No. 3.

The Redbox-exclusive actioner SAS: Red Notice landed at No. 4, followed by STX Films’ Greenland, distributed by Universal, at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-20-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-21-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-20-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-20-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-20-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 3-22-21

DEG Panel: Transactional Business Still Hardy — and Poised for Takeoff

Despite being squeezed by the pandemic, the transactional business is still sturdy and is poised to take off once new releases in the pipeline grow from a trickle to a steady stream.

That’s according to Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, and Eddie Cunningham, the former Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president who now runs Studio Distribution Services, the Universal-Warner Bros. disc distribution joint venture. The two executives spoke on a virtual DEG Expo panel March 24 moderated by Media Play News publisher and editorial director Thomas K. Arnold.

As industry pundits have observed, content in the transactional arena, which includes physical disc and digital purchases and rentals, dwarfs what consumers can find via subscription or other streaming services. That content has helped the transactional business survive recent jolts, the executives said.

Even the Blu-ray Disc and DVD business, which has been steadily declining for the last decade, remains a viable business, Cunningham said.

“In 2020 despite a pandemic and despite all the pressure of retail closures around the world … and pretty much no new releases after the first couple of months of the year — there’s still a $7 billion retail market, globally,” Cunningham said of the disc business.

“Obviously the last few months, there haven’t been that many new releases. But as that starts to come back in the second half of this year I think you’re going to see a real resurgence,” Smith added, noting that Redbox, with kiosk rentals driven by new releases, is looking forward to a more consistent flow of new content.

Cunningham said he’s been getting a similar message from the big retailers.

“Everybody’s incredibly excited about the new releases starting to come back into this business,” he said. “And I think we feel good about the fact that the big retailers … seem very, very committed to this category. We’ve got new titles every single week. We spend marketing money. We drive people into stores. We introduce fun. We introduce theater into the stores. … So a lot of them are pretty excited about us getting back into the new-release business. … Maybe we could even find a way of sort of growing this [physical] business or certainly hugely flattening the decline over the next year or two after the numbers we made during the pandemic.”

In the meantime, Cunningham said catalog has been picking up the slack, with such series as “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Office” and even children’s stalwart “Curious George” selling well despite streaming availability.

“If content is available on subscription services, you can still sell a lot of content physically on those same franchises,” Cunningham noted.

“Then there’s a huge amount, about 40% of consumers, who’ve never ever until this day ever transacted digitally, so they’re a huge target for us,” he said, adding “I think physical’s going to be around for a long time to come.”

The disc rental business, which Redbox dominates with thousands of kiosks in the United States, is here to stay as well, added Smith.

“We obviously have a view that it’s going to be sustainable for the long term,” he said. “It’s a great value to consumers. It’s incredibly convenient. … The fact that we’ve got 41,000 kiosks around the U.S. really helps with that. I think what we’ve been able to do is augment that experience. We’ve got this massive loyalty program with over 37 million people in it, and so we’re rewarding them for behavior and then rewarding them with things like free content and so it gives up a great opportunity for us to reinforce that value ecosystem.”

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Redbox marketing makes sure to let consumers know when new releases are available and doesn’t discriminate between the different ways a consumer might access content. The company offers consumers both physical and digital transaction options, letting them choose.

“We’re communicating with them on a regular basis in terms of what are those [new release] movies, and again, however you want to watch it, physically or digitally, we can be there to serve you with that,” he said.

Even though the company is offering a digital alternative, physical transactions aren’t suffering, Smith noted.

“Even when our customers started to transact digitally, it didn’t mean they stopped transacting physically,” he said. “They actually started transacting physically more. It reminded them again of all these great new movies that are available.”

As head of the disc distribution joint venture, Cunningham said he’s tasked with creating efficiencies and providing a focus on the physical business. The joint venture’s mantra is “two plus two equals five,” to make a bigger whole from the combined parts, he said.

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“The coming together of Universal and Warner and other third-party distribution partners is going to enable us to do things like share boxes coming out of Technicolor, which in turn saves a lot of in-store labor, transport costs and so on,” he said. “I think we’re in a position to start maybe talking a bit more again about some front-of-store displays in some of these big retailers where we’ve lost that.”

Two plus two equals five also means finding ways to leverage the studios’ combined content.

“Over the next year or 18 months you’re going to see some amazing things coming out of [the joint venture],” Cunningham said. “There’s going to be huge opportunities on Middle Earth, DC, Bond, classic monsters. It’s actually the 90th anniversary of Dracula coming up, so we’ve got an opportunity around anniversaries. ‘Fast and Furious,’ ‘Jurassic,’ ‘Dune,’ ‘Halloween,’ there are huge opportunities to draft off these kinds of things.”

He also envisioned boxed sets of titles from different studios as an added bonus for consumers.

“We’re going to work incredibly hard to see how we can put the two studios’ content promotions together and make something bigger,” he said.

Redbox, too, is looking to combine the advantages of different businesses. In addition to its digital and physical transactional offerings, the company also has ad-supported streaming and even a content acquisition and production arm.

“In terms of Redbox Entertainment, we have a ton of data obviously about what actors work, what genres work, and so what we want to do is say, ‘OK, we’re seeing a little less product from the studios, let’s go ahead and buy it, acquire it, produce it ourselves,’” Smith said. “We’re basically making sure that we program to our consumers what we know they are going to want. And we’re agnostic so we’re releasing it across all the digital retailers and then we’re actually selling it to streamers as well on the backend. We just want to make sure there’s good content made for consumers.”

‘Croods’ Maintains Lead on Redbox Charts; ‘Promising Young Woman’ Top Newcomer

Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age remained No. 1 on the Redbox disc rental chart the week ended March 21, its second consecutive week in the top spot and third time in four weeks since it arrived on disc.

The DreamWorks Animation sequel also returned to the top spot on the Redbox On Demand chart after two weeks at No. 2. It had been No. 1 for a week at the end of February upon its sellthrough debut, and had previously topped the chart in December when it was in its premium VOD phase.

The week’s top newcomer was Universal’s Promising Young Woman at No. 2 on the disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, and No. 3 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions.

Promising Young Woman, which is nominated for five Oscars, stars Carey Mulligan as Cassie, whose promising future was derailed by a mysterious event. Wickedly smart and tantalizingly cunning, she’s now living a secret double life by night — and is eager to avenge the wrongs of the past. It earned $5.7 million at the domestic box office and $10.8 million worldwide, which in the pandemic-hampered release year makes it the highest-grossing film among the eight Best Picture Oscar nominees.

The previous week’s top digital title, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s video game adaptation Monster Hunter, slipped to No. 2 on the Redbox on Demand chart and no. 3 on the disc rental chart.

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No. 4 on the disc chart and No. 7 on the digital chart was the Redbox-exclusive SAS: Red Notice, an action movie in which a British officer confronts a mercenary who has hijacked a high-speed train in the Channel Tunnel.

Also new to the disc chart, at No. 9, was Universal Pictures’ Songbird, an STX Films release about a couple in the near future continuing to struggle with the pandemic.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 21:

  1. The Croods: A New Age — Universal/DreamWorks
  2. Promising Young Woman — Universal
  3. Monster Hunter — Sony Pictures
  4. SAS: Red Notice — Redbox
  5. Greenland — Universal/STX
  6. Fatale — Lionsgate
  7. Crisis — Redbox
  8. Brothers by Blood — Lionsgate
  9. Songbird — Universal/STX
  10. Freaky — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 21:

  1. The Croods: A New Age — Universal/DreamWorks
  2. Monster Hunter — Sony Pictures
  3. Promising Young Woman — Universal
  4. Fatale — Lionsgate
  5. Wrong Turn (2021) — Lionsgate
  6. Greenland — STX
  7. SAS: Red Notice — Redbox
  8. Vanguard — Lionsgate
  9. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — Paramount
  10. Crisis — Quiver

 

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