Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker remained atop The Official Charts list of the 10 best-selling home entertainment releases on disc and digital in the United Kingdom — the No. 2 home video retail market — through May 6.
Skywalker, which last week was also the top-selling title of the year, more than doubled unit sales of its closet rivals, which included the newly arrived Oscar-winning comedy Jojo Rabbit from Disney’s 20th Century Fox on digital only.
The Official Charts is a 60-year-old joint venture of the BPI (representing the British recorded music industry) and the Entertainment Retailers Association (representing entertainment retailers and digital services from HMV, supermarkets and indie stores through to Amazon MP3, Spotify and Netflix). The role of the company is to commission, market, distribute and manage the U.K.’s official music and video charts — with its chart compilation contractor Kantar managing the databases, which it claims are the “fastest and most sophisticated” charts in the world.
Walt Disney Studios set a record $10 billion in worldwide box office ticket sales through Dec. 8 with current theatrical hit Frozen II — a notable milestone achieved without a “Star Wars” movie or breakout 20th Century Fox title.
Disney in July broke its previous $7.6 billion box office haul. Fox Studios’ theatrical titles topped $2 billion at the box office.
For home entertainment, Disney’s fiscal largess is a gift that keeps on giving despite ongoing consumer migration toward over-the-top video distribution.
Disney titles have historically performed well in sales of DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and more recently in digital sellthrough as well. Despite launching a branded SVOD platform featuring original movies, Disney will continue to stream new releases after their retail window.
And that’s a no brainer when looking at recent movie sales.
Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame is the top-selling disc in 2019, according to VideoScan. Captain Marvel, Bohemian Rhapsody (Fox), Toy Story 4 and Aladdin all rank among the top 10 this year.
It’s a trend Disney Home Entertainment has driven the past four years.
In 2016, Disney led all studios at retail disc sales with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, supported by Pixar’s Finding Dory, Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War.
The next year Disney again topped retail disc sales with Moana and Beauty and the Beast.
In 2018, Disney home entertainment outdid itself, spearheaded by Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco and Thor: Ragnarok.
Last November, CEO Bob Iger Iger gave a shout out to home entertainment — his first in years — which he said continued to deliver strong retail results in the face of OTT. At the time Iger suggested there was ongoing internal strategy about putting theatrical content into retail channels sooner.
“The home video window continues to be quite important to us,” he said. “You’ll likely see us protect that as well, although there’s going to be discussion around whether there’s an opportunity to move product into that window maybe a little sooner.”
To date, Disney’s 90-day theatrical window remains largely intact.
Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 quietly opened with a reported $118 million gross at the North American box office — on par with the 2010 opening weekend for Toy Story 3, which went on to generate $415 million domestically.
The fourth installment of the animated toy-talking franchise, which began in 1995 with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen supplying the voices to memorable characters Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively, and Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated soundtrack, continues Disney’s theatrical success following Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Aladdin.
The title also portends success for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, which has established a lucrative business selling “Toy Story” DVD and Blu-ray Disc units, among other formats.
The original Toy Story — directed by John Lasseter — ranks the 8th best-selling VHS title with more than 19.5 million units sold for $463 million in revenue (based on inflation) since its Oct. 29, 1996 retail release. It was also released on Laserdisc.
It is the 12th best-selling home entertainment release with 5.65 million combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units sold since its March 20, 2001, DVD release and Blu-ray on March 23, 2010.
The title was released on the defunct Universal Media Disc (UMD) format on Sept. 6, 2005.
Toy Story 2 was released at retail in 1999, with a special edition re-release on Jan. 11, 2000. It generated $42.2 million in domestic DVD sales; $16.3 million in Blu-ray.
Toy Story 3 sold 10.8 million discs for $192 million in revenue, and was the No. 2 selling disc in 2010. Overall, the title sold $184 million worth of DVDs and $53.2 million on Blu-ray, according to The-Numbers.com.
Indeed, when asked whether franchise films such as Toy Story 4 would be fast-tracked to Disney’s pending subscription streaming service, Disney+, CEO Bob Iger told CNBC in April that there was little financial incentive to do so.
“Don’t forget, in that [home video] window after it’s available in first theatrical run, these movies will be available for a form of rental or download or purchase,” Iger said. “Physical copies are still being sold.”
The week ended March 23 saw a pair of newcomers in a close race for No. 1 on the national home video sales charts, with Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse outpacing Walt Disney Studios’ Mary Poppins Returns.
Spider-Verse climbed to the top spot of the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart after taking in about $190 million at the domestic box office and claiming the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 family classic Mary Poppins, sold 90% as many copies as Spider-Verse. It earned $171.9 million in U.S. theaters.
The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, slipped to No. 3 on both charts.
Disney’s Animated Ralph Breaks the Internet took No. 4 on both charts in its fourth week.
No. 5 on both charts went to Universal Pictures’ Mortal Engines.
Blu-ray Disc formats comprised 78% of unit sales for both Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. Of those, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc edition accounted for 16% of Spider-Verse sales, compared with 8% for Poppins.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 24, Spider-Verse debuted at No. 1, with Grindelwald slipping to No. 2.
Paramount’s Instant Family held onto the No. 3 spot, while Universal’s Green Book slid to No. 4. Mary Poppins Returns was the No. 5 rental.
Street Date 3/19/19;
Box Office $171.69 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for some mild thematic elements and brief action.
Stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Nathanael Saleh, Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, David Warner, Jim Norton, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Dick Van Dyke.
There’s a lyric at the beginning of the original 1964 Mary Poppins in which Dick Van Dyke sings “what’s to happen all happened before.” It’s a line that hints at the mysterious nature of the magical nanny but seems a bit curious in the context at the beginning of a story in which we as an audience have yet to witness any of Mary Poppins’ adventures.
Rather, that prophetically tinged turn of phrase would seem to have more meaning when applied to this new installment, which bears fruit for the notion that Mary Poppins’ adventures are somehow cyclical.
The sequel that has been 54 years in the making has been carefully crafted for each story beat to resonate with an equivalent scene from the first film. Indeed, such echoes of the original are even reflected in the musical score, which always seems to play a few nostalgic notes when appropriate.
In the new story based on author P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins novels, the nanny returns some two decades later when the now grown Banks children, Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw) find themselves in a bit of a financial crisis. Michael’s life is in disarray a year after the tragic death of his wife, and the financial toll exacted by her loss have put their famous house at 17 Cherry Tree Lane in danger of being seized by the bank. As Michael seems ready to given in to cynicism and despair, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) reappears to ostensibly take care of Michael’s three children while infusing a new sense of joy and imagination into everyone’s day.
Mary Poppins Returns is an effective follow-up to the original classic, capturing its spirit of whimsy with a slate of catchy tunes, even if its story could use some fine-tuning at points. While every sequence more or less serves a central premise of approaching life with a variety of perspectives, some moments seem less relevant to the primary narrative than others. Colin Firth’s bank executive, for example, seems to want the house just for the sake of typical movie villain greed, where the plot could have given him a more personal stake in the Banks family story by, say, establishing he had a grudge against their father, George, who was a senior partner at the bank.
Likewise, the film’s most eccentric musical number, “Turning Turtle,” seems to exist only to provide an outlet for interesting ideas from the books the filmmakers wanted to use couldn’t infuse elsewhere in the story, resulting in a superfluous guest appearance by Meryl Streep. ‘
Much more effective is a practically perfect appearance by the iconic Angela Lansbury as the magical balloon lady, whose perfectly “Nowhere to Go but Up” number is the most memorable of film while most effectively reminding young and old alike to never lose sight of their childlike sense of wonder.
Bonus features on the Blu-ray are mostly focused on the creation of the various musical numbers, from the 23-minute “The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns” to the 18-minute “Seeing Things From a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns.” And the five-and-a-half-minute “Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns” delves into the now 93-year-old actor’s cameo in the new film.
The disc also includes a deleted song sequence that was replaced by another piece early enough so that the version presented here is a scratch track set to animated storyboards. The total sequence, called “The Anthropomorphic Zoo,” runs about five minutes.
There are also two true deleted scenes that run about a minute each that are extensions of musical sequences that are in the final film, as well as a two-minute blooper reel.
The disc also offers the movie in a sing-along mode that shows the lyrics during the various song sequences (as opposed to closed captioning showing all the dialogue).
The digital edition, which can be accessed using the Movies Anywhere redemption code included with the Blu-ray combo pack, offers an informative commentary with director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.
Movies Anywhere also has two more vignettes, each running more than a minute. “Different Worlds: Creating Mary Poppins Returns is a shorter clip from the longer making-of featurette about the making of an animated sequence. And “What Is Your Favorite Disney Musical?” is a promotional video in which the title question is asked to various cast members.
Finally, the digital version on Vudu offers a three-minute featurette about the cameo of actress Karen Dotrice, who played young Jane in the original film.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger’s announcement that the studio would abandon its long-standing “vault” strategy for its upcoming subscription streaming service is perhaps one of the most shocking shifts in an industry rocked by change.
At the March 7 shareholder meeting in St. Louis, he said that the studio would pull movies from its vault and offer them all on the pending Disney+ service.
“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service.”
The vault strategy, exploited by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for decades, involved putting select movies, mostly animated classics such as Bambi, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, on retail moratorium for several years to wait for a new crop of children to come along. Oft termed “treasures” or “platinum” or “gold” editions when they emerged after seven years or so for a re-release, they were snapped up at $20 to $30 apiece by eager parents, purchases made all the more urgent by the studio warning that they would soon go back into the vault. When these classic films came out, often in a new format, they shot to the top of the sales charts.
It took the digital entertainment revolution to finally crack the Disney vault — but is it a heist? If enough subscribers sign on to Disney+ at a high enough subscription price, offering a panoply of content may be a lucrative investment, but it could also devalue some of the studio’s most valuable jewels.
MGM’s Creed II, distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended March 9.
However, the boxing sequel, the eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise and a follow-up to 2015’s Creed, topped out at No. 2 in its debut on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, where Walt Disney Studios’ Ralph Breaks the Internet took the top spot for a second consecutive week.
On the overall sales chart, Ralph in its second week sold 94% as many copies as the debuting Creed II. But only 53% of Creed II sales were of a Blu-ray disc format (11% of its overall sales were of the 4K UHD Blu-ray), while 65% of Ralph sales were of a Blu-ray format (7% from UHD BD).
Creed II, which also serves as a direct sequel to 1985’s Rocky IV, earned $115.7 million at the domestic box office, slightly more than the first Creed.
No. 3 on the overall sales charts was another newcomer, Paramount’s Instant Family, a heartwarming comedy about foster families and the adoption process. Instant Family landed at No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart, as 45% of its total sales were of the Blu-ray version.
No 4. on the overall sales chart, and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart, was Warner’s 2018 A Star Is Born remake in its third week on shelves.
The No. 5 overall title, in its fourth week, was 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Signature Collection was the No. 3 Blu-ray and No. 6 on the overall sales chart.
Other newcomers debuting on the top 20 overall sellers chart include Fox’s The Favourite at No. 9 (No. 8 Blu-ray), Lionsgate’s Ben Is Back at No. 10 (No. 14 Blu-ray), and Lionsgate’s The Vanishing at No. 12 (No. 10 Blu-ray).
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 10, Instant Family debuted at No. 1, with Creed II at No. 2, A Star Is Born at No. 3, Bohemian Rhapsody at No. 4 and Sony Pictures’ Venom at No. 5.
Disney plans to move all legacy original movie franchises such as The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Bambi and The Little Mermaid from its “vault” and onto the pending Disney+ subscription streaming service.
CEO Bob Iger alluded to the change March 7 during the media giant’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis.
“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service,” Iger said.
The Disney Vault was a marketing plan originated by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that put select packaged media release movies, animated features and sequels on retail moratorium.
Disney advertising urged consumers to purchase select titles before they “go into the vault” for a period of years, a move studio marketers felt heightened retail demand.
The marketing was successful as Finding Nemo and Beauty and the Beast rank as the top-selling DVD and sixth best-selling Blu-ray Disc titles, respectively, in the United States.
Nemo, which was released in 2003, has generated more than $677 million from sales of nearly 39 million DVDs. Beast has generated $102 million from 4.5 million Blu-ray units sold.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Ralph Breaks the Internet easily debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended March 2.
The animated film, a sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, earned $200 million at the domestic box office.
The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s 2018 edition of A Star Is Born, dropped to No. 2 on the overall sales chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart. In its second week, A Star Is Born sold about one-third as many copies as the Disney newcomer.
Bohemian Rhapsody, from 20th Century Fox, landed at No. 3 on both charts in its third week on shelves.
Coming in at No. 4 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was the new “Signature Collection” Blu-ray edition of Disney’s 1989 animated classic The Little Mermaid.
Rounding out the top five on both charts was Lionsgate’s Robin Hood remake.
Other new releases landing in the top 10 include Lionsgate’s Between Worlds, a thriller starring Nicolas Cage, at No. 8 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart, while the Sony Pictures horror movie The Possession of Hannah Grace debuted at No. 9 overall and No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart.
The historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, from Universal Pictures, debuted at No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart and No. 21 overall.
Disney’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, no doubt timed with the March 8 theatrical debut of Captain Marvel, jumped back to No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart, as 93% of sales of the title for the week were from a Blu-ray format, with 86% from the UHD Blu-ray (it was No. 33 overall).
Ralph saw 79% of its sales come from the Blu-ray format, 8% from 4K UHD Blu-ray. Little Mermaid was a Blu-ray-only re-release and had 21% of its sales from UHD BD. Blu-ray accounted for 68% of Mary Queen of Scots sales, with 11% from the UHD BD.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 3, A Star Is Born took No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Bohemian Rhapsody at No. 2 and Robin Hood at No. 3.
The Possession of Hannah Grace debuted at No. 4, while Universal’s Night School returned to the rental chart at No. 5.
Street Date 2/26/19; Disney; Animated; Box Office $199.89 million; $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 UHD BD; Rated ‘PG’ for some action and rude humor. Voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Flula Borg.
The original Wreck-In Ralph from 2012 got a lot of mileage from the nostalgia its audience would have for classic video games, as it told the story of video game characters wanting to be more than the parameters of their programming.
In particular, Ralph (voiced John C. Reilly), hated his reputation as a video game villain, but eventually came to accept his role in the game as the other characters realized that they couldn’t exist either without him.
In Ralph Breaks the Internet, it’s six years later and Ralph has settled into a content life alongside his new best friend Vanellope from the Sugar Rush racing game, whom he helped save in the first movie, embracing his day job smashing buildings while spending nights hanging out at other games in the arcade.
Vanellope, on the other hand, has grown bored with her racing game and longs for new tracks and hidden levels. She gets her opportunity for a new adventure when the steering wheel on her game breaks and, when the arcade owner balks at the cost of replacing it, she and Ralph head to the Internet to see if they can find the means to replace it themselves.
After a quick trip through eBay, the pair find themselves in an online game called Slaughter Race that offers new driving challenges that excite Vanellope. As she contemplates staying there, Ralph worries about losing his best friend and schemes to convince her to return to the arcade.
Ralph Breaks the Internet does for the World Wide Web what the first film did for video games, offering a steady stream of nostalgia, deep-cut references and sharp observational humor.
The film even gives Disney a chance to engage in some self-parody, as Vanellope visits a Disney website and meets all the Disney Princesses, allowing the filmmakers to poke fun at the tropes of a typical Disney film. They instruct Vanellope, who is technically a princess herself according to her Sugar Rush bio, that when the time is right, she’ll learn about her heart’s true desire through a song — leading to an off-kilter take on the traditional Disney musical number (and, taking the gag further, the Blu-ray includes a music video for a bubblegum pop version of the song, which has to do with Vanellope’s desire to play the aforementioned game with “slaughter” in its title).
On the other hand, the various references to mega-successful Disney properties such as the Princesses, Pixar, “Star Wars” and Marvel Comics could be seen as the studio basking a bit in its own dominance at the moment. (Perhaps we should be grateful they didn’t cram in a preview for the pending Disney+ streaming service). But, such meta-humor is the kind of thing the “Ralph” movies are in a unique position to get away with, as it practically comes with the premise (an early reference to Tron is particularly apt, all things considered).
In all, though, the film delivers with some exciting action sequences that build on the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, and a sentimental story about the evolving nature of friendship.
The making of the film is the subject of the Blu-ray’s 33-minute “How We Broke the Internet” featurette, which is segmented into the development of various story points and characters. A separate 10-minute featurette focuses on the film’s music.
The three-and-a-half-minute “Surfing for Easter Eggs” talks about some of the film’s hidden references, but seems more interested in providing cutesy narration than loading up on interesting information.
A two-minute “Baby Drivers — Slaughter Racing School” featurette is offered as a digital exclusive, available with purchases of the digital edition of the film or through redeeming the digital code included with the Blu-ray.
The disc also includes the two-minute “BuzzTube Cats,” a montage of animated cat videos of the type used to populate background sites in the film.
There are five deleted scenes that total about 19 minutes, most of which are remnants of an earlier draft of the story but which reflect plot elements that did evolve into the final film.
Finally, in addition to the pop version of the Slaughter House song, there’s a trippy music video for the end-credits song “Zero” by Imagine Dragons.