Universal Pictures’ animated sequel Sing 2 again topped the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Jan. 23.
The Illumination film, which became available for premium digital rental Jan. 7, follows the animal singers as they plan a new show and try to persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star, Clay Callaway (voice of Bono), to join them. It also features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton.
Repeating at No. 2 was Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which became available for digital purchase Jan. 4. The franchise reboot from director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman is a sequel to the two 1980s “Ghostbusters” movies. It follows a single mom and her two kids who arrive in a small town and begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather, an original Ghostbuster, left behind.
Landing at No. 3 was Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, which became available for digital purchase Jan. 18. In the sci-fi horror film, Raccoon City, which was once a booming home of pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation, is now a dying Midwestern town — with great evil brewing below the surface.
Dropping from No. 3 to No. 4 was Disney’s Marvel Comics-based Eternals, which became available for digital purchase Jan. 12, and falling from No. 4 to No. 5 was the sci-fi film Dune, available for non-premium digital purchase Jan. 11.
Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Jan. 23, in terms of revenue, were:
The uncertainty over the COVID-19 surge triggered by the emergence of the Omicron variant has made any and all predictions for the coming year suspect. Life could go back to normal fairly quickly or we will continue to battle surges and adjust our lives accordingly. Most observers don’t see us going back to the draconian shutdowns and lockdowns of the early days of the virus, but studio executives and exhibitors are understandably nervous about the current and any future surges since theatrical attendance could suffer — which ultimately affects everyone down the food chain.
The home entertainment business weathered the initial COVID crisis quite well, with streaming growing stronger and transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) winning a premium first-run window. That said, there are several “givens” as 2022 gets underway.
Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and the other high-profile streamers will continue to battle for dominance, with Netflix doing everything in its power to reduce churn and not lose market share. The second tier of SVOD players, including Paramount+ and Peacock, will make as much noise as possible to win a seat at the table — as evidenced by Peacock’s recent announcement that it will be streaming the winter Olympics in their entirety.
On the transactional side, a lot depends on the fate of movie theaters as this pandemic lumbers on. The early pandemic led to an overall shortening of windows and new-release strategies that ultimately benefited both home entertainment divisions and digital retailers such as Vudu by Fandango, Redbox On Demand, Microsoft and Google Play.
But while TVOD, and physical media, benefit from shorter windows, it is also impacted by studios accelerating, or re-ordering, SVOD windows. A film available as part of an all-you-can-watch subscription streaming service simply isn’t going to sell or rent nearly as well as it would if there was no “free” competition. And that plays into the bigger picture that the more consumers tune in to SVOD services, the less likely they are to purchase or rent something a la carte.
Jim Wuthrich, president of content distribution for WarnerMedia, says he’s “optimistic that we’ll continue to adapt to the changing nature of COVID and learn to live with it.”
“Although there are many challenges, we’ve learned how to be productive with a distributed workforce, productions are largely back and there’s more consumer choice than ever before — both in amount of content and ways to view,” he says. “It’s a great time to be a fan of linear storytelling. We will continue to improve and expand HBO Max to more markets, while providing a la carte options for fans and collectors. SVOD services will continue to dominate viewing time, with transactional supporting a vital role in discovery, sampling and fandom. Physical media (4K/Blu-ray/DVD) continues to be a meaningful market, with approximately $2 billion in U.S. consumer sales, and largely immune to evolving distribution patterns.”
On the WarnerMedia side, Wuthrich says, “We have a great movie slate, with four DC films coming to theaters and another installment of ‘Fantastic Beasts.’ We also have a number of series releasing, including the new ‘House of the Dragon,’ a ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel. History has shown these franchises to be powerhouses in driving catalog sales so we are looking forward to a great year.”
“Similarly to 2021, we expect a very healthy home entertainment market in 2022, with strong consumer engagement across multiple business models,” says Michael Bonner, president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. “Release patterns will likely continue to fluctuate and vary across studios on a title-by-title basis.
“With the theatrical marketplace continuing to strengthen, the growth of PVOD and the expansion of various SVOD services, the distribution landscape is stronger than ever. As we look ahead, studios have more options and outlets to create value and reach consumers which strengthens our ability to continue investing in great content.”
Bonner maintains that Universal, with its slate of anticipated new releases including Jurassic World: Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru and Downton Abbey: A New Era, “is perfectly positioned to draw audiences back into theaters and fuel further transactional growth across the varying windows and platforms.”
Paramount Home Entertainment president Bob Buchi says that “as the global hub for transactional home entertainment across ViacomCBS, our division is exceedingly fortunate and singularly focused on delivering an extraordinary 2022 line-up of the company’s theatrical and television content, as well as third-party acquisitions through our extensive partnerships.”
“Our theatrical slate includes new entries in wildly popular franchises, including ‘Scream,’ ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ and ‘Jackass,’ which are not only highly anticipated, but also provide excellent opportunities to stoke fan interest in the earlier films and television shows available through home entertainment,” he says.
On the catalog front, Buchi adds, the division’s most ambitious initiatives are the year-long 50th anniversary salute to The Godfather, “for which we anticipate massive consumer excitement for the film’s return to theaters, new 4K home entertainment releases, and licensed merchandise,” and the first-time-on-4K director’s edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, “with fantastic new VFX, which will be released first on Paramount+ and then on home entertainment platforms.”
Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment for Fandango, which oversees the Vudu digital retailer, also has high hopes for the new year.
“We expect the TVOD sector to deliver even more value to consumers, as fans sort through a fragmented streaming world, looking for a one-stop-shop entertainment service for movies and TV,” he says. “Because subscription services, by their nature, cater to specific audiences and content offerings, we continue to see consumers utilizing the flexibility, depth and breadth of Vudu’s new release and catalog offering of over 200,000 titles to complement their monthly entertainment needs.”
Douglas says Vudu “is working hard to expand our catalog every day. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity, as we continue to secure new and previously unavailable titles. There’s a variety of titles where digital rights were originally unsecured, but with the demand increasing, there’s more pressure than ever to make these films available for fans to stream at home. We pride ourselves on providing the best quality of experience and we are always working to create a bigger, better home entertainment experience for our customers. We want to be that place where fans can find every beloved movie and show they desire.”
At the top of Vudu’s agenda for the coming year, Douglas says, are plans “to innovate new services for our customers and add new platforms and devices to meet the fan demand in an ever-changing marketplace. We also plan to offer deeper integration with our sister sites, Rotten Tomatoes, for entertainment discovery, recommendation and curated content, and Fandango for crossover promotional opportunities to help enhance the theatrical experience. With our entertainment lifecycle marketing strategy, we look forward to helping new and returning partners more effectively and efficiently reach high-value entertainment audiences at scale.”
The big challenge for home entertainment executives in the coming year is to apply lessons they learned during the pandemic and react quickly to market conditions.
Paramount’s Bob Buchi says that “with two years of experimentation and the expedited evolution of our business, we know we need to remain agile in our windowing and co-promotional strategies as we continue to support the return to theaters and the rapid growth of our streaming service, Paramount+.”
Adam Frank, SVP of global digital sales and distribution at Lionsgate, says what happens at the box office will trickle down into all aspects of home entertainment.
“Our expectation, given the quality and quantity of the theatrical release slate, is that box office sees significant increase and momentum in 2022 vs. 2021,” Frank said. “The old adage of content is king still rings true, and with more product in the marketplace, consumers will ultimately have more choices and more opportunities in the home entertainment space.”
Jed Grossman, EVP and GM of worldwide sales and distribution at Lionsgate, adds, “We expect all business segments — transactional digital, packaged media, SVOD and AVOD/FAST — to grow year-over-year driven by five key factors:
A more robust theatrical release schedule, inclusive of major tentpoles and franchises like ‘Jurassic World,’ ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Black Panther’ that were delayed during the pandemic. Lionsgate has a strong slate that includes Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, starring Nicolas Cage; Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret; and White Bird, among others;
A more viable theatrical marketplace, with theater-going comfort increasing as vaccine/booster shot rates increase and tentpoles drive attendance;
The continued unprecedented demand for new release and library product from SVOD and AVOD/FAST platforms. Lionsgate has achieved record library revenue over the past year;
The ability to capitalize on home entertainment consumer behavior, consumer content thirst and technology enhancements — across all offer types — as accelerated by the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021; and
Continued collaboration with our theatrical exhibition partners to release films with dynamic windows to meet demand across all platforms.”
For independent film distributors, don’t expect much variance in 2022 from established policies of continuing to take aim at the collector and niche markets, particularly on the physical media side.
“For disc sales, MVD and our label partners are focusing on collectible content in deluxe packaging,” says Ed Seaman, COO of MVD Entertainment Group. “We anticipate a similar trajectory for disc sales, which have steadily grown over the last several years. The pandemic certainly gave them a boost, but the resilience and resurgence of disc sales may have more to do with the frustrating customer experience our industry has created in the OTT space. Finding what you want is now very challenging. How many streaming services do you need to subscribe to only to not find the film you want to watch, when you want to watch it? You can more easily find what you want transactionally, but it is still a search. Why not just pay a bit more and own the deluxe-edition disc?”
On the digital front, Seaman says “AVOD/FAST will continue to grow dramatically as consumers clearly embrace and enjoy that model. TVOD is tricky; considering Amazon’s tight curation of non-fiction, we expect some other platforms to step up and become more dominant in that space. There is a real opportunity for platforms focusing on non-fiction to deliver to fans what they want when they want it.”
At MVD, Seaman notes, “we’ve just added Zach Fischel to our leadership team; Zach is a veteran in the entertainment industry and is leading our label management team and marketing department. We’ve additionally moved longtime MVD staffer Chris Callahan to lead our digital sales and operations team. Chris has been with MVD since 1999 and has served in sales management, label management and international licensing. Both of these leaders are committed to improving their areas of responsibility; they have great ideas particularly in digital marketing, an area of overlapped responsibility. We are really excited about 2022!”
So is Mark Fisher, president and CEO of OTT.X, a streaming industry trade group.
“2022 will be a year that portends the future of our industries — a future that, enabled by OTT distribution, is more egalitarian, more global and more diverse,” Fisher says. “While Hollywood continues to make great movies and TV shows, smaller distributors and independent producers from all over the world are making a lot of great content, too — enabling the consumer to be less reliant and dependent on content from the big studios and on domestic-produced content. And, while the big ‘Pluses’ and ‘Maxes’ continue to grow, consumers are finding plenty of additional content on indie and niche channels, both FAST and on demand.”
Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife conjured up the top spot on the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Jan. 9.
The franchise reboot from director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman became available for digital purchase Jan. 4. A sequel to the two 1980s “Ghostbusters” movies, the film follows a single mom and her two kids who arrive in a small town and begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather, an original Ghostbuster, left behind.
Universal Pictures’ Illumination animated sequel Sing 2, which became available for premium digital rental Jan. 7, took the No. 2 spot on the chart. In the film, the animal singers plan a new show, but must persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star, Clay Callaway (voice of Bono), to join them. It also features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton.
Landing at No. 3 was the Marvel Comics-based sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage, available for digital purchase and rental. It stars Tom Hardy as journalist Eddie Brock, who interviews a serial killer (Woody Harrelson) who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage.
King Richard, with new Golden Globe Best Actor winner Will Smith — available for premium rental and purchase Jan. 4 — landed at No. 7 on the chart, while the horror film Antlers, newly available to rent, landed at No. 8.
Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Jan. 9, in terms of revenue, were:
Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage regained the top spot on the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Jan. 2.
The Marvel Comics-based sequel, available for digital purchase and rental, stars Tom Hardy as journalist Eddie Brock, who interviews a serial killer (Woody Harrelson) who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage. The film rose from No. 2 on the chart the previous week.
Taking the silver on the chart was MGM’s latest James Bond film No Time to Die, which rose from No. 3 the previous week. Available for digital rental and purchase, it’s the last Bond film with Daniel Craig in the lead role.
Landing at No. 3 was last week’s chart topper, Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. The sci-fi horror actioner, available for premium digital rental, returns to the origins of the franchise in Raccoon City.
Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City took the top spot on the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Dec. 26.
The sci-fi horror actioner, available for premium digital rental, returns to the origins of the franchise in Raccoon City.
Dropping to No. 2 from the top spot was Sony’s Marvel Comics-based sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage, available for digital purchase and rental. It stars Tom Hardy as journalist Eddie Brock, who interviews a serial killer (Woody Harrelson) who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage.
Taking the bronze on the chart was MGM’s latest James Bond film No Time to Die, which rose from No. 4 the previous week. Available for digital rental and purchase, it’s the last Bond film with Daniel Craig in the lead role.
Meanwhile, holiday films continued to appear on the Vudu chart the week of Christmas. The 2000 live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, came in at No. 4, and Illumination’s 2018 animated The Grinch, with the title character voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, landed at No. 7.
New to the chart were Disney’s animated musical Encanto — available for digital purchase (and also available free to stream for Disney+ subscribers) — and the horror-suspense thriller Antlers — also available for digital purchase — at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.
Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Dec. 26, in terms of revenue, were:
Vudu, Fandango’s digital purchase and rental content service, is hosting a year-end sale through Jan. 3
Consumers who spend $40 or more on movie or TV content on Vudu receive a code for $10 off additional movies and TV purchases at the beginning of the year. More details can be found at https://www.watchvudu.com/yearend.
In addition, many titles are on sale to purchase for as low as $7.99, and throughout the next two weeks, Vudu is offering thousands of additional movies, television seasons and bundled sets, many in 4K Ultra HD, for $4.99 and up.
Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage regained the top spot on the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Dec. 19.
The Marvel Comics-based sequel, which arrived Nov. 23 for digital purchase and is newly available for digital rental, stars Tom Hardy as journalist Eddie Brock, who interviews a serial killer (Woody Harrelson) who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage.
Debuting at No. 2 on the chart was Paramount’s family film Clifford the Big Red Dog, based on the children’s books. The film became available for digital purchase Dec. 14.
Halloween Kills — Extended Cut, another title newly available for digital purchase Dec. 14, landed at No. 3 on the chart. Universal Pictures’ sequel to 2018’s Halloween, the film features Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak and the entire town of Haddonfield banding together to take down the infamous killer Michael Myers.
The other title new to the chart (No. 7) was 20th Century Studios’ animated comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong, which became available for digital purchase Dec. 15. The film, which became available free to stream on HBO Max on the same date, is about a socially awkward middle-schooler who receives a digitally connected device that’s supposed to be his “best friend out of the box.”
Meanwhile, holiday films continued to populate the chart. The 2000 live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, came in at No. 5, and Illumination’s 2018 animated The Grinch, with the title character voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, landed at No. 8.
Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Dec. 19, in terms of revenue, were:
Fandango’s on-demand streaming service Vudu surveyed more than 2,500 film fans to find out their favorite movies of the year in several genres.
Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was named the fan-favorite overall movie and topped the list for favorite action movie, with Marvel’s Black Widow at No. 2.
Warner’s Dune: Part One was named top sci-fi movie of 2021 and the top awards contender.
Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II was the fans’ favorite horror flick, while Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy was the top comedy, Disney and Pixar’s Luca topped the list of animated movies, while Disney’s Cruella was named top family film.
Many of the top titles are now available to stream as part of Vudu’s Fan Picks feature. Many of the year’s best films are also available to purchase in 4K UHD for as low as $9.99 as part of Vudu’s End-of-Year Sale.
Sony Pictures’ Marvel Comics-based Venom: Let There Be Carnage fell from the top spot to No. 2 on the chart. The sequel, which arrived Nov. 23 for digital purchase, stars Tom Hardy as journalist Eddie Brock, who interviews a serial killer (Woody Harrelson) who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage.
Dropping from No. 2 to No. 3 on the chart was the Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures feature Dune: Part One, which arrived for premium digital ownership and rental Dec. 3 after its theatrical and HBO Max debut. The film, starring Timothée Chalamet, is based on the sci-fi novel of the same name by Frank Herbert.
Holiday films continued to populate the chart. The 2000 live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, came in at No. 4; Illumination’s 2018 animated The Grinch, with the title character voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, landed at No. 5; and Elf, starring Will Ferrell, appeared at No. 10.
The musical drama Dear Evan Hansen, newly available to rent at $5.99, and the new-to-streaming romantic comedy, The Hating Game, ranked at No. 12 and No. 20, respectively.
Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Dec. 12, in terms of revenue, were:
Vudu, Fandango’s transactional digital service, has a new holiday movie map revealing the local favorites for top holiday films set in each of the 50 United States.
Vudu surveyed thousands of film fans across the United States in November to discover their local favorite holiday flicks set in their states. Genres stretched from romantic comedies to kids’ flicks to action-adventure to Hallmark and Lifetime titles.
The map can be found at Fandango.com, and Vudu’s coast-to-coast playlist can be found here.
“There’s something about seeing your own home state portrayed on film that makes you warm and cozy and helps usher in the holiday spirit,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “As fans search for the perfect holiday movies to watch this season on Vudu, this map offers a fun way to not only discover hidden gems, but to also explore the country through a host of holiday-themed movies.”