‘A Thousand Miles Behind’ Motors to VOD and On Demand June 9 From Level 33

The road movie A Thousand Miles Behind will travel to VOD and on demand June 9 from Level 33 Entertainment.

From writer-director Nathan Wetherington (“True Detective”), the drama features the Scrambler Ducati, the L-twin-engined roadster motorcycle made by Ducati. It follows a grieving man who sets out on a solo trip across California after a motorcycle mysteriously turns up on his doorstep.

The film stars Greg Evigan (made-for-TV movies Once Upon a Holiday, Mail Order Bride and Poison Ivy: The Secret Society, ABC’s “General Hospital,” “Deepstar Six,” NBC’s “My Two Dads,” “B.J. and the Bear”), Jeffrey Doornbos (new Fox series “9-1-1: Lone Star,” TV Series “Wake Up, It’s Tuesday!”), Bre Blair (Last Vegas, CBS’s “S.W.A.T.,” NBC’s “Game of Silence”), Jeffrey Nicholas Brown (Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger,” “True Blood,” “Arrested Development”) and Vanessa Campbell (Garfield the Movie).

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The film won the Best Picture Grand Jury Prize at the Portland International Motorcycle Film Festival; Best Feature Film Jury Prize at MOTOTEMATICA — Rome Motorcycle Film Festival; Best Dramatic Feature at the Rome Independent Cinema Festival; and Best Feature Film and Best Director at the Good Grain Film Festival, among other accolades.

Romance ‘Ovid and the Art of Love’ to Bow May 19 on Digital, VOD and On Demand From Level 33

The romance Ovid and the Art of Love will be released on digital, VOD and on demand May 19 from Level 33.

Set in a mash-up of contemporary Detroit and ancient Rome, the story follows a young Ovid who enrages the brutal emperor by writing a provocative guide to love and runs for his life. In a world filled with togas, hip-hop, sneakers, oration and poetry slams (think Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet or Hamilton), Ovid and the Art of Love traces the life of the popular, witty and controversial Roman poet.

The film stars Corbin Bleu, John Savage, Tara Summers, Tamara Feldman, Sam Haft, Joseph McKenna, Lailani Ledesma, Amanda Lewan, Kimberly Cruchon Brooks, Michael D. Ellison and Ashlee McLemore.

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‘Trolls World Tour’ Again Tops FandangoNow Chart

Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour remained the top title on FandangoNow, the transactional video-on-demand service from Fandango, for the week ended April 19.

With its wide theatrical release scuttled by COVID-19, the animated sequel to Trolls instead debuted on premium VOD April 10 as a 48-hour rental at $19.99. During the week prior, its premiere week, the title was FandangoNow’s most preordered title of all time, best-selling film on its opening day and best-selling film during its first three days of digital release, according to the service.

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Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life, the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy film, made a another appearance at No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart for the week, while Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog repeated at No. 3. Sonic raced to digital release early March 31, also due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended April 19 were:

  1. Trolls World Tour
  2. Bad Boys for Life
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog
  4. The Invisible Man
  5. The Gentlemen
  6. Fantasy Island
  7. Underwater
  8. Birds of Prey
  9. The Way Back
  10. Dolittle

Warner’s ‘Birds of Prey’ Now Available for Digital Rental at $5.99

Following the early availability of  Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn two weeks ago for digital purchase at $19.99, Warner Bros. has made the recent theatrical release available for digital rental at $5.99 across all digital platforms.

The anti-heroine ‘R’-rated DC Films movie starring Margot Robbie opened theatrically Feb. 7 and generated about $200 million at the global box office before theaters went dark in mid-March.

Consumers are still able to purchase the film digitally for $19.99.

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Birds of Prey was released early for digital purchase on March 24 as the coronavirus pandemic began forcing theaters to shutter operations to avoid possibly spreading the disease.

Universal Pictures’ recent theatrical releases The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma, along with Sony Pictures’ Bloodshot, also were released to home audiences early, but for rental only at $19.99.

Not surprisingly, Birds of Prey is No. 1 on iTunes.

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The Invisible Man will become available for purchase through digital retailers on May 12 — at a non-premium price — and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD on May 26.

Doc ‘Refugee’ Coming to Digital April 14 From Virgil

Virgil Films will release the documentary Refugee April 14 on digital and VOD.

From the executive producer of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, Refugee is a harrowing account of Europe’s migrant crisis. It follows a family of Syrian refugees separated by the borders of Europe who fight to be reunited as they migrate from Syria to Germany.

In 2015, at the height of the Syrian war, Raf’aa, a Syrian mother, was forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. With her husband Nazem in the hospital, and the bombs getting closer to Qamilshi, she fled Syria to find asylum for her family, leaving Nazem and their two children Ahmed and Hamoudi behind. They had hoped to reunite in Europe within a few weeks, but by the time Nazem and the children left, it was too late. The political climate had changed and the borders to Europe were closed. Safe in Germany, Raf’aa is traumatized by what she witnessed on her journey and prays her children have not endured the same. Meanwhile 2,000 miles away, Nazem and her children live through their own nightmare in one of the worst refugee camps in Europe. Over the next 18 months, viewers witness a testament to the human spirit as the family fights to be reunited and how a father shields his children from what it means to be a refugee.

Refugee from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

MovieSpree TVOD Service Bows Sales on Animated Kids’ Series Including ‘Gigantosaurus’

MovieSpree, Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional VOD service, is offering sales on several animated kids’ series to keep the little ones occupied while they stay at home.

On March 25, MovieSpree launched the complete first season of the animated kids’ series “Gigantosaurus,” on sale for $22.49 — 25% off of the regular price. In the series, young dinosaurs Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu are growing up in the Cretaceous period where life is always an adventure — new volcanoes are popping up all the time, the long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratops roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky, and the big, fierce Gigantosaurus reigns over it all.

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“Liberty’s Kids”

Also on sale are several complete animated series at $2.99, including “Liberty’s Kids” (including all 40 episodes of the edutainment series), “Street Sharks,” “C.O.P.S.,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century,” “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” and “Horseland.”

‘I Still Believe’ Heading to Premium VOD March 27

In response to theater closures due to the coronavirus outbreak, Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Co. will release the motion picture I Still Believe on premium VOD (PVOD) across all premium platforms beginning March 27.

The film opened March 12 in theaters and has earned $10.1 million at the global box office.

K.J. Apa, Shania Twain and Gary Sinise in I Still Believe.

I Still Believe is the true story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp. Starring K.J. Apa and Britt Robertson, the film follows one young couple’s  journey that proves hope can survive great tragedy and that love tested is the only love worth sharing. The film also stars Shania Twain and Gary Sinise.

Directed by Jon Erwin and Andrew Erwin, the film was written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn and is produced by Kevin Downes, Jon Erwin and Andrew Erwin.

“The theatrical experience is core to our business, and exhibitors are our integral partners and allies,” said Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement. “With theaters closed nationwide due to these unprecedented events, we want to continue to make I Still Believe available to consumers. We’re enormously proud of the movie that the Erwin Brothers created and are grateful to be able to share it with audiences for their home viewing pleasure.”

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“As filmmakers, we are heartbroken that we can’t share I Still Believe on a big screen the way we intended,” said I Still Believe directors Jon and Andrew Erwin in a statement. “We make movies because we love movies and we stand firmly behind the nation’s theater chains, from the largest circuits to the smallest mom and pop indies that have been so dramatically affected by these unprecedented closures. But the safety of guests comes first, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to share online a movie whose inspiring message of love, hope and faith is perfect for these uncertain times.”

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According to the studio, the film has received an ‘A’ Cinemascore from audiences and has received a 98% Audience Score on Rottentomatoes.com.

Analysts: Home Entertainment ‘Virus’ Bump Could Be Short-Lived

With studios shuttered and live sports on indefinite suspension due to the threat of the coronavirus, home entertainment options ranging from broadcast and pay-TV, transactional VOD, DVD and streaming video are projected to see at least short-term bumps in viewership and revenue during the “social distancing” period, according to media analysts.

Nielsen reports “TV usage” in South Korea, Italy and the United States increased double digits during the initial weeks of the virus. Nielsen’s classification includes broadcast/pay-TV, VOD, AVOD, SVOD and the DVR.

Data from Sensor Tower found Netflix sign-ups via its app increased 57% and 34% in Italy and Spain, respectively. Streaming Elements reported live streaming via Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and other platforms jumped 66% in Italy in February. The country is on virtual lockdown after more than 2,500 people have died from the virus.

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“[SVOD] is an obvious beneficiary if consumers stay home due to coronavirus concerns, and this has been reflected in considerable stock price outperformance this week,” Dan Salmon with BMO Capital Market wrote in a March 13 note.

JC O’Hara, analyst with MKM Partners, told CNBC that consumers “stuck inside” all day during a pandemic quarantine would inevitably turn on the TV. O’Hara said streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, as well as ad-supported VOD platforms, would all benefit.

Neil Begley, with Moody’s Investors Services, back in January suggested that if the virus became widespread but short of panic, home entertainment content such as TV shows and films on Netflix, Disney+, Comcast’s Peacock, AT&T’s HBO Max, among others, would rule the day.

But should the pandemic last longer, leading to a global recession as some have projected, consumer spending on home entertainment would fall to the wayside, according to analysts Laura Martin with Needham and Craig Moffett with MoffettNathanson.

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“[SVOD] will be replaced pretty quickly by the necessity of reducing monthly bills, when people will have to deal with the financial impacts of a recession,” Moffett told The New York Times. “Cord-cutting will accelerate with a vengeance.”

A long-term pandemic and fiscal gains in home entertainment would likely be offset by a fiscal hardships in households as viewers — suddenly out of job due to sever downturns in the economy — reconsider spending on non-essential items.

“Cost will become that much more urgent,” Moffett said. “There are going to be very large parts of the population out of work.”

And some of those unemployed could work in media. With ESPN and sports-themed channels unable to broadcast live content, consumers would question spending on platforms largely streaming classic reruns and endless coronavirus chatter.

Disney-owned ESPN and WarnerMedia Entertainment’s Turner are projected to lose $481 million and $210 million in NBA-related ad-revenue alone. NBCUniversal has $1.2 billion in advertising at stake for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics — with President Trump now suggesting the latter could be postponed — a scenario one Games executive has called “impossible.” NBCU parent Comcast says it has insurance should the Games be canceled.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has already cautioned the tech giant would miss quarterly fiscal projections on iPhone sales due to the virus, told Fox Business he thinks the virus has run its course in China, epicenter to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control,” Cook said on March 12. “You look at the numbers, they’re coming down day by day by day. And so I’m very optimistic there.”

Indeed, China March 18 reported no new COVID-19 infections throughout the country on March 17. That news comes the day after government officials expelled media representatives from major U.S. news organizations.

 

Magnolia Gerrymandering Doc ‘Slay the Dragon’ Launches Digitally April 3

Magnolia Pictures’ documentary Slay the Dragon, which tackles gerrymandering in the United States, will launch on demand digitally April 3.

The digital release moved up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Directed by Academy Award nominee Barak Goodman and Emmy Award Nominee Chris Durrance and an official selection of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, Slay the Dragon maintains there was a calculated campaign in 2010 to manipulate our electoral system to consolidate political power for the next decade. It alleges that after the 2008 election, a secretive, well-funded partisan initiative poured money into state legislative races in key swing states to gain control of their redistricting processes, and used high-tech analytics to dramatically skew voting maps based on demographic data. Gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing electoral maps to serve the party in power, has been around for centuries. But in today’s hyperpartisan political environment it has been taken to unprecedented extremes, the documentary contends.

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The film also looks at how redistricting affects the political system today, following a handful of citizens groups after the 2016 election.

‘Parasite’ Top Best Picture Oscar Pic in Fandango Survey of Millennials

In a Fandango survey of millennial film fans on the upcoming Oscar race, South Korean genre-bending hit Parasite is the top pick in the Best Picture race with 20% of votes, followed closely by Sam Mendes’ WWI epic 1917 with 19%. Parasite also took the top spot in the Best Director category, with first-time nominee Bong Joon Ho winning with 34% of votes.

Parasite is  also the best-selling foreign-language film of all time on Fandango’s transactional VOD service FandangoNow.

Fandango surveyed more than 2,000 millennial moviegoers who have seen the majority of the nominated films, asking them which Oscar-nominated films and performers deserve to take home the statues Feb. 9.

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) emerged as the fan favorites in the Best Actor and Actress categories, with 55% and 31% of the votes, respectively. Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) and Florence Pugh (Little Women) earned the top spots in the supporting categories with 41% and 28% of votes, respectively.

Meanwhile, 88% said they’re planning to watch Sunday’s show because they have seen most of movies in contention this year.

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“Fans are more excited to watch the Academy Awards because they’ve actually seen the nominated movies,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “This year’s Oscar races for Best Picture and Best Director are the most suspenseful, and if the Fandango polling is any indication, it’s going to be awfully close, with Parasite and 1917 neck and neck in the voting for both categories. Moviegoers are also rooting for fan favorites like Joker, Little Women, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Knives Out, Toy Story 4 and Rocketman, all of which figured prominently as winners in the Fandango survey, ranking as the top choices for Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay, Animated Feature and Original Song.”

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Many of the nominated titles are available on FandangoNow. Available to buy are Knives Out (Feb. 7), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari. Available to rent or buy are Ad Astra, Avengers: Endgame, Breakthrough, Harriet, Honeyland, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Joker, Judy, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Missing Link, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Pain and Glory, Parasite, Rocketman, The Cave, The Lighthouse, The Lion King and Toy Story 4. Available for pre-order are 1917, Bombshell, Frozen 2, Little Women, Richard Jewell and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Survey results were:

Best Picture

Parasite – 20%

1917 – 19%

Joker – 15%

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – 12%

Little Women – 10%

Jojo Rabbit – 7%

Marriage Story – 7%

Ford v Ferrari – 5%

The Irishman – 5%

 

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) – 55%

Adam Driver (Marriage Story) – 20%

Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) – 14%

Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) – 8%

Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) – 3%

 

Best Actress

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) – 31%

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story) – 26%

Renee Zellweger (Judy) – 19%

Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) – 12%

Charlize Theron (Bombshell) – 12%

 

Best Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) – 41%

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) – 40%

Joe Pesci (The Irishman) – 9%

Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) – 6%

Al Pacino (The Irishman) – 4%

 

Best Supporting Actress

Florence Pugh (Little Women) – 28%

Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) – 24%

Laura Dern (Marriage Story) – 22%

Margot Robbie (Bombshell) – 15%

Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell) – 11%

 

Best Director

Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) – 34%

Sam Mendes (1917) – 33%

Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) – 15%

Todd Phillips (Joker) – 14%

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) – 4%

 

Best Animated Picture

Toy Story 4 – 49%

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 19%

Klaus – 15%

I Lost My Body – 9%

Missing Link – 8%

 

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out – 35%

Parasite – 28%

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – 18%

1917 – 11%

Marriage Story – 8%

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Little Women – 33%

Joker – 32%

Jojo Rabbit – 23%

The Irishman – 10%

The Two Popes – 2%

 

Best Song

“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” (Rocketman) – 42%

“Into the Unknown” (Frozen 2) – 30%

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (Toy Story 4) – 16%

“Stand Up” (Harriet) – 9%

“I’m Standing With You” (Breakthrough) – 3%