A pair of new releases debuted in the top five on the national home video sales charts the week ended Jan. 5, but neither could displace Sony Pictures’ Venom from taking the top spot for a third consecutive week.
The closest was Universal Pictures’ Night School, which landed at No. 2 on both the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart in its first week on shelves.
Night School, a comedy starring Kevin Hart and Tiffandy Haddish, sold 65% as many copies as Venom overall, but just 52% as many Blu-ray Discs. Half of first-week Night School sales came from the HD format, compared with 62% from the third week of Venom.
The other newcomer to secure a high chart debut was 20th Century Fox’s noirish thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, which bowed at No. 5 overall and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart. Blu-ray accounted for 70% of the titles total unit sales.
No. 3 on the overall chart and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart was Universal’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls, also in its third week.
Another movie in its third week in stores, 20th Century Fox’s The Predator, slipped to No. 4 on both charts.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Jan. 6, Night School held onto the top spot for a second consecutive week (it had been available through rental outlets such as Redbox for a few days prior to its sellthrough date).
Venom held onto the No. 2 rental spot, while The House With a Clock in its Walls moved up to No. 3.
Sony Pictures’ The Equalizer 2 held steady at No. 4, while The Predator slipped to No. 5.
Universal Pictures’ Night School scored a double win at Redbox in the first week of the new year.
The Kevin Hart-starring comedy, which earned $77.3 million in North American theaters, remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines.
The film also knocked Sony Pictures’ Venom out of the No. 1 spot on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional streaming.
Venom, a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, was No. 2 on both charts.
Night School’s lingering popularity might be due in part to the controversy surrounding Hart, who in December was briefly tapped to host the 2019 Academy Awards. After being blasted for homophobic jokes and tweets he made more than eight years ago, the Academy asked him to apologize; he ultimately stepped down as host.
In Night School, Hart portrays a successful salesman who sees his life turned around after getting fired for accidentally destroying his workplace. Forced to attend night school so he can finally get his GED and find another job, he soon finds himself amongst a group of misfit students, a teacher with no patience for class clowns (Tiffany Haddish) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal (Taran Killam) who will strive to make sure he fails the course.
Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in its Walls, a family fantasy about a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle in a spooky old house, moved back up to No. 3 on both charts from No. 5 the prior week.
The Sony Pictures revenge thriller sequel Equalizer 2 remained at No. 4 on both charts for the second consecutive week.
Rounding out the top five on the Redbox disc-rental chart was The Predator, from 20th Century Fox, down two spots from its No. 3 debut the prior week.
The No. 5 spot on the Redbox digital chart went to Lionsgate’s A Simple Favor, also down from No. 3 the previous week.
The sole new release to chart at Redbox the week that ended Jan. 6 was A-X-L, a science-fiction adventure from Global Road Entertainment that debuted on the kiosk chart only at No. 10. The film only earned $8.2 million in domestic theaters against a reported budget of $10 million.
Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending January 6
The House With a Clock in its Walls
The Equalizer 2
White Boy Rick
A Simple Favor
Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending January 6
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Venom topped 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 Dec. 29.
The bulk of the week’s sales took place following Christmas, and studios avoided releasing many new titles into the market. In fact, the top four titles on both charts were unchanged from the previous week.
In topping home video sales for a second consecutive week, Venom outsold the No. 2 title on both charts by a 3-to-1 margin.
Universal’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls in its second week remained at No. 2 on the overall chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart.
No. 3 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was again 20th Century Fox’s The Predator, also in its second week.
The No. 4 title on both charts was Walt Disney’s Studios’ Incredibles 2, in its eighth week.
Sony Pictures’ Home Entertainment’s The Equalizer 2 moved up a spot to No. 5 on both charts, pushing Warner’s Smallfoot to No. 6.
The only new release to crack the top 50 for the week was Sony Pictures’ White Boy Rick, which was No. 29 overall and No. 25 on the Blu-ray chart.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Dec. 30, Universal’s Night School took the No. 1 spot. The comedy was made available through Redbox kiosks a few days before its Jan. 1 sellthrough date.
Venom slipped to No. 2, followed by The Predator at No. 3, The Equalizer 2 at No. 4, and The House With a Clock in Its Walls at No. 5.
It was a split decision at Redbox the week ended Dec. 30.
Universal Pictures’ Night School, a comedy starring Kevin Hart that earned $77.3 million in North American theaters, debuted at No. 1 on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines.
Sony Pictures’ Venom, a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, remained on top of the Redbox On Demand chart for the second consecutive week. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional streaming.
Night School debuted at No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart. In the film, a successful salesman (Hart) sees his life turned around after getting fired for accidentally destroying his workplace. Forced to attend night school so he can finally get his GED and find another job, he soon finds himself amongst a group of misfit students, a teacher with no patience for class clowns (Tiffany Haddish) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal (Taran Killam) who will strive to make sure he fails the course.
Venom, with a domestic gross of $213 million 2018’s No. 10 movie, slipped to No. 2 on the Redbox disc-rental chart its second week in kiosks.
The Predator, from 20th Century Fox, debuted at No. 3 on the Redbox kiosk chart while slipping to No. 7 from No. 6 the prior week on the Redbox On Demand chart.
Rounding out the top five on the Redbox disc-rental chart were the Sony Pictures revenge thriller The Equalizer 2 at No. 4, down from No. 3 the prior week, and Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in its Walls at No. 5. The latter, a family fantasy about a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle in a spooky old house, had debuted at No. 2 the previous week.
Another new release, Sony Pictures’ White Boy Rick, debuted at No. 7 on the kiosk chart. The film, a biographical crime drama about the youngest-ever FBI informant, earned $24 million in theaters after debuting at the Telluride Film Festival.
On the Redbox On Demand digital chart, Lionsgate’s A Simple Favor, a black comedy about a vlogger who tries to solve the disappearance of her rich and mysterious best friend, slipped to No. 3 after bowing at No. 2 the prior week.
The Equalizer 2 finished the week at No. 4 followed at No. 5 by The House With a Clock in its Walls. Both films slipped a spot from the prior week.
White Boy Rick came in at No. 6 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart.
Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending December 30
Night School (new)
The Predator (new)
The Equalizer 2
The House With a Clock in its Walls
White Boy Rick (new)
A Simple Favor
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending December 30
Sony Pictures’ Venom was 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 Dec. 22.
The latest superhero movie to hit shelves is based on a popular supporting character from the “Spider-Man” comics who started out as a villain before morphing into something of an antihero. Tom Hardy stars as a journalist who is infected with an alien parasite that takes over his body and gives him superpowers. Venom earned $213 million at the domestic box office.
Debuting at No. 2 on the overall sales chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart was Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in Its Walls, an adaptation of the children’s book starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett and directed by Eli Roth. It earned $68.5 million at the domestic box office.
The No. 3 overall title and No. 2 Blu-ray was another newcomer, 20th Century Fox’s The Predator, the fourth film in the “Predator” franchise and sixth to feature the alien hunters (counting the “Alien vs. Predator” films). The new entry directed by Shane Black underwhelmed at the domestic box office with $51 million.
Holding steady at No. 4 on both charts was Walt Disney Studios’ Incredibles 2, while Warner’s Smallfoot slipped to No. 5 on both charts.
Lionsgate’s A Simple Favor, a dark comedy thriller directed by Paul Feig, debuted at No. 21 overall and No. 18 on the Blu-ray chart.
Blu-ray Disc accounted for 68% of first-week Venom sales, compared with 57% for House and 70% for The Predator. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition accounted for 14% of Venom sales, 7% for House and 15% for Predator.
Venom also topped the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Dec. 23, while The House With a Clock in Its Walls debuted at No. 2.
The Equalizer 2 slipped to No. 3, with Smallfoot at No. 4 and A Simple Favor at No. 5.
Sony Pictures’ Venom, a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, topped both Redbox charts the week ended Dec. 23.
With a domestic gross of $213 million the year’s No. 10 movie, Venom debuted at No. 1 on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, as well as the Redbox On Demand digital chart, which tracks digital transactions, both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) streaming.
Bowing at No. 2 on the kiosk chart and No. 4 on the digital chart was another new release, Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in Its Walls, a family fantasy film based on the 1973 book of the same name. The film, about a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle in a spooky old house, stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, and Owen Vaccaro. It grossed $68.5 million in North American theaters.
Lionsgate’s A Simple Favor debuted at No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart (and No. 5 on the disc-rental chart). A black comedy about a vlogger who tries to solve the disappearance of her rich and mysterious best friend, the film stars Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding and earned $53.5 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
The Sony Pictures revenge-thriller sequel The Equalizer 2 slipped to No. 3 on both charts, a week after its debut at No. 1.
Smallfoot, a computer-animated musical comedy-adventure from the Warner Animation Group, finished its second week of availability at No. 4 on the Redbox kiosk chart (down from No. 2) and No. 7 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart (down from No. 3).
Peppermint, another revenge thriller starring Jennifer Garner as a mom out to avenge the murder of her husband and 10-year-old daughter by a drug cartel, slipped to No. 6 from No. 3 on the disc-rental chart and No. 5 from No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart.
Holiday favorite Home Alone, from 20th Century Fox, shot up to No. 8 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart during the week before Christmas.
Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending December 23
The House With a Clock in its Walls (new)
The Equalizer 2
A Simple Favor (new)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Crazy Rich Asians
Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending December 23
It’s beginning to look like a record year at the box office.
Consumers as of Dec. 26 have spent an estimated $11.38 billion on movie tickets sales in the United States and Canada, according to Box Office Mojo, the box office revenue tracking site.
That’s on par with total spending in the record year of 2016 — and with six days still remaining in 2018, a new record almost certainly will be set.
Movie ticket sales were fueled by blockbusters such as Walt Disney Studios’ The Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity Wars, which with domestic grosses of $700.1 million and $678.8 million, respectively, are the No. 3 and No. 4 movies of all time, according to Box Office Mojo statistics.
Indeed, three of the year’s top 10 movies are also in the all-time top 10, the third being yet another Disney film, Incredibles 2. With a domestic gross of $608.6 million, the animated sequel is the No. 3 movie of 2018 – and the No. 9 movie of all time.
Disney had five of the year’s top 10 theatrical performers, the others being Ant-Man and the Wasp (No. 8) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (No. 9).
But other studios also shared in the spoils, including Universal Pictures, which had the year’s No. 4 and No. 6 movies, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch; as well as the 20th Century Fox, with fifth-ranked Deadpool 2; Paramount, with Mission: Impossible – Fallout, ranked at No. 7; and Sony Pictures, whose Venom came in at No. 10.
All but two of 2018’s top 10 theatrical releases are already available for home viewing, on digital as well as DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The most recent release is Sony Pictures’ Venom, which was released to the home market through digital retailers on Dec. 11 and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on Dec. 18
The lone holdout is Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, from Universal Pictures, which also is the newest theatrical release, bowing on the big screen on Nov. 9.
The film, with a holiday theme, will most likely be released to the home market in the fourth quarter of 2019, observers say.
Also contributing to the strong year for movie theaters were theatrical over-performers such as Paramount’s A Quiet Place (No. 12, $188 million) and Warner Bros.’ A Star is Born (No. 11, $200 million) and Crazy Rich Asians (No. 14, $174 million), observers say.
Top Theatrical Films of 2018, Ranked by Domestic Gross (as of Dec. 26)*
Tom Hardy brings the fan-favorite antihero Venom to life in this entertaining throwback to the wild sensibilities of the comic book movies of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Blu-ray is loaded with bonus materials that should satisfy fans of both the character’s history and his film adaptation.
Box Office $213.03 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.
Stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Reid Scott, Melora Walters, Woody Harrelson.
The character of Venom’s journey to the big screen shares a lot of parallels with Deadpool, in that both were introduced as a villain in another character’s poorly received movie before getting a second chance after years of development hell to get a movie of their own.
Venom was originally introduced in the 1980s as an alien entity that served as an antagonist for Spider-Man before his increasing popularity led writers to shift him into the role of an anti-hero (often dubbed the “lethal protector”). He’s essentially a living black goo known as a symbiote, which merges with a human host to create a hulking beast with super abilities and a voracious appetite.
The character’s big-screen debut came in 2007 via a much-maligned appearance in the awful Spider-Man 3, when he was shoehorned into the story allegedly at the behest of studio executives looking to make a spinoff. (Likewise, Deadpool first appeared in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in which all of his fan-favorite traits were removed — a blunder subsequently lampooned in the mega-successful “Deadpool” solo movies that were only made after the popularity of leaked test footage pressured a reluctant Fox into greenlighting the project.)
When the “Spider-Man” franchise was rebooted with The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, plans emerged for Venom to be included in a Sony Spider-Man cinematic universe, only for the poor reception of 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to put a hold on that as well.
Then Sony made a deal with Marvel Studios to include Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and when that proved successful Sony felt confident in moving forward with Spider-Man-related side projects, including Venom and the animated Into the Spider-Verse.
But, with the live-action Spider-Man on loan to Marvel’s creative team, Sony had to develop Venom without using Spider-Man in his origin story, as the two characters are intricately connected in the comic books. Originally, the symbiote bonded with Peter Parker before moving on to a better-suited host, Peter’s journalistic rival Eddie Brock, to finally become Venom. This paved the way for the expansion of the symbiote concept and the introduction of characters such as Carnage and Riot who could serve as villains for Venom.
So, in the Venom movie, the symbiotes are discovered on a comet and brought to Earth by a space mission funded by megalomaniacal rich guy Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). But the ship crashes and some of the symbiotes get loose before Drake’s cronies can round up the rest for experimentation.
Drake realizes they need human hosts to survive on Earth, so he kidnaps homeless people to test out his theories. This arouses the suspicions of Web reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), whose attempts to investigate Drake’s lab cause him to come into contact with the Venom symbiote, which takes over his body.
The symbiote is able to communicate telepathically with its host, and we learn that symbiotes need to have a good match with their hosts for the pairing to work, and apparently Eddie is well matched for Venom.
Of course, with Venom/Eddie on the loose, Drake sends out a private army to kill him, leading to several action sequences around the streets of San Francisco. Drake wants to send another rocket to the comet to bring back more symbiotes, a plan that Eddie/Venom vows to stop, even if it means fighting other symbiotes who support Drake’s mission. (This being a comic book movie, a finale featuring the main character battling the evil version of himself is almost a foregone conclusion.)
The best aspect of the movie is the interaction Hardy has with, well, himself — the interplay between Brock and the Venom voice in his head that wants him to find food and that he has to convince to stop eating people.
Part action, part horror, part buddy comedy, the film shifts tone at will in its efforts to stay faithful to the character while maintaining the commercial appeal of a ‘PG-13’ movie. It feels a lot like a throwback to a 1990s or early 2000s comic book movie that would try anything to entertain its audience. The visual effects are appropriately over the top, awash in CGI flair as gooey symbiotes launch tendrils and ooze across the room in attacking whomever is nearby.
The Blu-ray comes with a “Venom Mode” that offers pop-up trivia about the character and production while the movie plays. The information is low-key and unobtrusive, but often relates facts that might not be as interesting as answering questions that might pop into a viewer’s head during a given scene.
Three deleted scenes offer some more insights about the Venom character — one features Eddie talking to himself in a cab, another shows Venom’s hilarious response to an annoying car alarm, and the third is an extended version of a post-credits scene that teases a potential villain for the sequel.
Also included are about an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, highlighted by the 20-minute “From Symbiote to Screen,” a good primer on the history of the Venom character. The three-minute “Symbiote Secrets” unveils some of the hidden references in the film.
In addition, there’s a gallery of visual-effects progressions from storyboard to finished film.
The disc also offers a bonus scene from the recently released Spider-Man: Into the Universe, both tacked on to the end of the movie and included separately. This is in addition to the Spider-Verse trailer that plays when the disc loads.
Finally, the disc includes two music videos: one for Eminem’s Venom title track, and another for an Into the Spider-Verse song, “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee.
Among the new home video releases for Dec. 18, Sony Pictures’ Venom and 20th Century Fox’s The Predator arrived with similarly themed exclusives at each of the big-three retailers.
Target offered Blu-rays of each film packaged with collectible booklets. The Venom Blu-ray with a 24-page gallery book was offered at $27.99. For The Predator, a 36-page The Art of the Hunt” booklet was included with specially marked copies of the Blu-ray ($24.99) or the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack ($29.99).
In addition, Target offered Redcard members a Funko Pop! vinyl figure of a red “Fugitive Predator.”
Best Buy continues to offer exclusive Steelbook packaging of major releases with distinctive box art. Venom Steelbooks were available with the Blu-ray ($27.99) and 4K UHD Blu-ray ($34.99) editions. The Steelbook for The Predator was offered at $29.99.
Walmart packaged toys with each film. The Predator Blu-ray was offered as a gift set at $22.96 with a Pocket Pop! Keychain of a green vinyl “Fugitive Predator” figurine. The $27.96 Venom Blu-ray gift pack came with a 1980s-style retro action figure of the main character.
The Walmart Blu-ray was even promoted with a throwback toy commercial.
Amazon has an exclusive limited edition Venom Blu-ray with glossy foldout packaging and art from illustrator Marko Maney.
Among other promotions, Best Buy offered Blu-rays touted as “Stocking-Stuffer Gold” starting at $9.99, and holiday favorites on DVD and Blu-ray for $4.99 and $6.99. Best Buy is also taking preorders for a UHD Blu-ray Steelbook of Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms for $34.99, though the release date is not yet announced.