If you can't read this newsletter or see the ads, please click here
It was a good week for… Joker, riding on the back of its Oscar success for Joaquin Phoenix and shifting 210,000 physical copies in its first week…
It was a bad week for… Streaming services, as the lack of Friends forces consumers to go out and buy the releases…
Happy birthday to us… We’re not normally ones for blowing our own trumpet, but just to let you know, a certain trade email newsletter was published for the first time in February 2010, a simpler time before anyone in the UK had heard of Netflix – it was a DVD-by-mail operator, as was LOVEFiLM in the UK. Blockbuster was still on the high street, and, following the sad collapse of HEW and RRP, many in the trade were keen for Raygun editor and publisher Tim Murray to launch a new operation. And thus, The Raygun was born. Ten years in and the industry’s changed radically, a lot of familiar faces have left, there’s new players on the block but we’re still here. And as the last trade magazine (albeit in newsletter form) for the video industry, we’re happy to be here for the foreseeable future. Editor Tim Murray said: “I’ve been in the business for 30 years now and still love this industry of ours. Even if it was two people and a dog, I’d still be working in the industry, covering the news and what’s going on. I’ll be around as long as people are still reading this.” Before we launch this week’s slightly truncated version, wed just like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who persuaded us to launch, everyone who’s supported us over the years and everyone who has given us their backing over the past decade. We couldn’t have done it without you, and here’s to 10 more. We’ll be having a social event sometime in the next month or two to celebrate… 
Chart update and the release of the latest DC outing from Warner, Joker, ha continued its stay atop the Official Film Chart, selling 210,000 units on physical formats in its first week on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K, holding off a challenge from the Maleficent sequel, a new entry ay number two. Its strong physical showing comes on the back of a strong digital release, as noted by Virgin Media Store and Virgin Movies senior manager Adrian Zak, who said: “As expected Joker's done well for us in both its early EST window and as a rental title where its been our best Week 1 rental title since Bohemian Rhapsody. We've been supporting it heavily on platform and off with menu takeovers and a supporting Batman v Joker collection on both EST and TVOD.” Other new entries in the Official Film Chart this week, incidentally, came from the Shaun The Sheep sequel Farmageddon and the Zombieland sequel Double Tap, at numbers four and five respectively. 

The big announcement this week came from Disney’s Star Wars empire, with the news that the latest outing under the banner, and the final in the current instalments, The Rise Of Skywalker, is out on April 13 as a digital release and April 20 in assorted physical formats. The release is, as you’d expect, crammed with extras, with the Blu-ray and digital extras including feature length documentary The Skywalker Legacy; a look at the film’s lengthy set piece in Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase; Aliens in the Desert, a piece looking at the Pasaana desert scenes; D-O: Key to the Past and the ship that explains more about Rey’s missing parents; Warwick & Son, with Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi returning as an Ewok, alongside his son Harrison; and Cast of Creatures, looking at the creation of the film’s characters. On the same date, the full saga thus far, taking in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released on 4K UHD too. Commenting on the release, Virgin Media Store and Virgin Movies senior manager Adrian Zak said: “We're excited that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been confirmed for Easter and has that all important early EST window. We're working on various promotional plans for the title at the moment so are getting fully behind it as we did with the previous entries.”
Out on Monday February 24, comes Dogwoof with its first release of 2020, following hot on the heels of its record-breaking year of physical sales in 2019. The film is Honeyland, a cinematic study of a North Macedonian beekeeper which garnered Oscar nominations for both Documentary Feature and International Feature earlier this month. Here's head of home entertainment Daniel Green: "Honeyland's double Oscar nomination has been the icing on the cake for a film which has built strong momentum since Sundance 2019. Neon did a fantastic job with the US release and we were delighted to partner with the company for the UK launch last year, culminating in next week's DVD and Blu-ray bow. What's more, this is the first release to feature brand new Blu-ray packaging which we hope will go down well with collectors."
Due on stores on Monday, and hopefully not undercover or under the radar, comes Universal’s release of Official Secrets, boasting an al;-star cast for this based on a true story. Commenting on the release, here’s Universal marketing manager Stephanie Don. She said: “From the director of Eye in the Sky and starring a best of British cast including Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith, we’re thrilled to be releasing the critically acclaimed Official Secrets on DVD this Monday. As a timely story of maintaining courage and conviction in the face of government betrayal, we’re focusing our activity towards reaching our core politically motivated, cinephile and thriller fans across a range of media activations next week.”
Thursday night, February 20, saw the leak of a forthcoming release later confirmed by Arrow Video and formally announced to its devoted fanbase on Friday. So what was so special that the official unveiling took place outside o the normal monthly calendar for announcements from the imprint and its sister Arrow Academy label? Well, it’s a lavish weighty box set devoted to Japanese creature feature favourite Gamera. The set features eight discs containing all the feature length outings featuring the “titanic terrapin”, who rivalled Godzilla in the hearts and minds of his native Japan alongside a welter of special features and 12 uncut, 4k restored feature films. The hefty set, in a rigid box, weighs in at 8kg, buoyed by the inclusion of not just a comprehensive book charting the character’s history, but also a hardback comic book featuring Gamera’s adventures. Released on July 27, it carries a price tag of £149.99. Commenting on the set, Arrow’s Mike Hewitt said: “It’s all go go Gamera at Arrow Video this week as we surprise announced an absolute monster of a July release in the UK, US and Canada. Gamera: The Complete Collection will come in at a whopping 3kg, collecting all twelve tales of the Japanese icon Gamera for the first time ever worldwide. A co-ordinated announcement across all three territories has seen collector forums ablaze with excitement and pre-orders are already flooding in for this Limited Edition set across all retail partners. This exquisite set, including an 80-page retrospective book on the series, plus a 120-page hardback comic book and many more extras still to be announced, will be released on July 27 2020.”

More on the eagerly awaited biggie due from Signature in the shape of Come To Daddy, an Arrow Video FrightFest favourite on its premiere last year. The critically-acclaimed, super-entertaining and genre-bending horror comedy starring Elijah Wood, received a sold out preview screening at The Prince Charles Cinema in London’s West End on Monday February 17. The audience were treated to an intro from festival runner and all-round legend Alan Jones and further words from from director Ant Timpson.The release of the film on EST this week marks the 27th film released on the Frightfest Presents label since Signature Entertainment and Frightfest joined forces in 2018. The title is due on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 2 with extras including one of Ant Timpson’s first short films entitled Crab Boy. Commenting on the film, Jones said: “FrightFest Presents is so happy to release Come To Daddy because it’s an acclaimed world class title that shows how seriously we take our brand curating and how great independent genre filmmaking is right now.”
More forthcoming announcement news and 101 Films has announced a new release for its Black Label imprint and it’s a belter too – the rarely seen only directorial outing for famed designer Saul Bass.  The title is due on April 6 and the company’s Tim Scaping said: "Phase IV is a truly iconic film, the only feature to be directed by the incredibly talented Saul Bass, who is best known for his film poster and titles design work, so we’re delighted to be releasing the film as part of our Black Label series. An essential inclusion in our release is his ambitious, hallucinatory original ending, long thought lost until it resurfaced in 2012. In addition we’ve managed to source nearly all of Saul Bass’s short films, included on a second disc, including the Academy Award-winning Why Man Creates and a newly-scanned version of Ray Bradbury adaptation Quest. With a new documentary that puts the film in context, a new commentary and a booklet featuring newly-commissioned writing on the film, we think this is a spectacular package and a must-own for Blu-ray collectors and film fans generally.”
It’s a case of Vlad to meet you for 4 Digital Media next month as the indie has this week announced an epic tale charting the life and bloody history of Vlad The Impaler in the film of the same name. He is, of course, the man who inspired the character of Dracula and the film tells the story of his brutal reign. Commenting on the release of the film, due on March 23, the company’s Eve Greenow said: “We are very excited about the upcoming March release of Vlad The Impaler. It’s Game of Thrones meets Vikings in feel – a thunderous tale of seven fierce warriors in 15th Century Turkey, tasked with hunting down the blood-thirsty Vlad the Impaler, and end to his cruel reign of terror. It’s been really enjoyable working on Vlad The Impaler the last few months, it's very much a swords and savagery epic, and are all keen to see how it performs.”

An interesting record was set at horror svod service Shudder this week, as the AMC-owned operator announced its biggest ever launch outside of the Halloween season. The Rob Zombie-directed 3 From Hell, the latest outing in the rocker turned director’s ongoing Rejects series, had become the most-watched new title on Shudder outside of October. “3 From Hell is by far our biggest movie premiere outside the month of October, which is a testament to Rob Zombie’s enormous popularity as a genre filmmaker,” said Shudder GM Craig Engler. “The latest instalment of the Firefly family saga has exceeded all our expectations, and we’re delighted to be the exclusive streaming home for the film.”
Friends has disappeared from Netflix in the US as it sits in the vaults ahead of the launch of Warner’s own subscription service HBO Max, where it is certain to become a favourite. And in an interesting revelation this week, the studio has admitted that sales on physical formats of the classic sitcom have tripled since it was put into hibernation. Warner’s US head of TV marketing Rosemary Markson said: “At the beginning of the year, it was the top-selling catalog-TV franchise in home entertainment. We were seeing strong sales across both physical and digital, and we’ve seen a particularly strong uptick in digital. If you think of DVDs as the original bingeing mechanism, it’s a way to collect and adds permanence and repeatability to be able to watch the show. “I know a lot of fans were upset when it exited Netflix, so we wanted to make sure that fans know where to find Friends. We’re looking at a broad-based marketing and publicity plan to get the word out and to continue to drive sales around the franchise. We do feel transactional and streaming can coexist.” More on this come in a feature in Variety, in which Kathi Chandler-Payitt from the NPD Group added: “The only way to guarantee evergreen access to content is through ownership, and that message needs to be reinforced to the public. Although platform-owned titles may or will be held back for exhibition on the distributor’s platform, and audiences may know where to find the content, there’s no guarantee that the content will always be available.”
More comment on this intriguing development came from IHS Market Technology analyst Sarah Henschel who said: “Studios need to manage the balance of offering compelling content on their individual streaming services without extremely cannibalising home entertainment revenue. Increased streaming competition is the perfect opportunity to remind customers of traditional home entertainment value. We find that the majority of consumers view content through living room devices, so studios should continue to push placements through smart TVs, digital media adaptors, and games consoles… There is a general concern over the future of home entertainment in the new streaming world, but it also offers great opportunity if messaged properly.”

”The comments by the President of The United States of America on Parasite are a clear racist dog whistle and as such do not warrant being debated. The box office result of Parasite, which has outperformed numerous best picture winners, proves this is clearly not a prejudice shared by film fans in the UK. Parasite expands to 561 sites this weekend for those who prefer to watch films for themselves before casting judgement.”
Parasite week two post-Oscar win – and Donald Trump has weighed in with his views. This was Curzon’s response…
The path from blockbuster console or PC game to the big screen is a well-trodden one, but equally, it’s a route that, as many of those that have taken it, is fraught with difficulty and potential pitfalls. Latest to take it is Eli Roth, the horror turned mainstream director who, flush from the success of the excellent The House With Clock In Its Walls. For he will be behind the camera for a take to the highly popular franchise Borderland. The project is at Lionsgate, whole Craig Mazin, the man behind Chernobyl, has penned a script, although it’s unclear if this will remain in place by the time Roth starts filming later this year…
Meanwhile, a far older property is being dusted down again for the the next project from Dexter Fletcher. Flush and fresh from the success of Rocketman, the director is working on.a new iteration of The Saint. The 60s television programme was revived for a late 1990s version starring Val Kilmer, after another revival had followed the classic Roger Moore version…
We were reminded of the delights of early Martin McDonagh outing In Bruges recently thanks to second SIght's wonderful Blu-ray version Colin Farrell starring tale of hitmen holed up in the Belgian city. And so we're really excited about the news that the director is getting back to work with the same team he worked with on the comedy thriller for a new feature film…
Follow us on…
Nice estate…
US dates, but here's the star Wars blu-ray trailer…
And here’s the Frozen one…
We still believe in this…
The Secret’s out (in April)…
You're on The Raygun newsletter mailing list, which has been running for eight years, because you requested it, have been recommended to us or sent us emails. You can unsubscribe at any time, if you're daft, using the link elsewhere or by emailing as below. But of course, you don't want to do that, do you? We don't share your information with anyone else, we don't like cookies and we're the good guys. We care because you do… 
To subscribe to The Raygun newsletter, please email
with subscribe in the subject matter
To unsubscribe, email with unsubscribe in the subject
For editorial or advertising queries, contact
The Raygun
7 Lightcliffe Road
London N13 5HD
Forward this email to a friend