NEWSLETTER :: May 27 2010

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It Was A Good Week For... The TV box set market. True Blood performed strongly and after the publicity over the past seven days (with more to come), demand for 24 and Lost complete season box sets is on the up...
It Was A Bad Week For... Well, this week's releases were all fine, but after a few weeks of blockbuster titles, it all seemed a bit quiet this week...

On The Raygun website this week: a look at he BFI's release strategy, loads of trailers, images, pictures, marketing updates and news. See here for more.

So congratulations to Vertigo (and, by dint, its home entertainment partner for this release, E1), following the hugely impressive theatrical bow for StreetDance 3D. The film has achieved what many in the UK have been trying to do for some time, in creating a genuinely commercial Britflick that can compete with Hollywood. And compete it did. Well, more than that, it beat it at its own game. Playing one some 345 screens as a 3D title, it was already the widest ever release in the format du jour, and its opening weekend haul of £1.8 million (with the previous weekend's previews added it went up to a whopping £2.4 million) was enough to put it on top of the UK box office charts. Its performance also made it the most successful Lottery-funded film ever. All of which bodes well for its DVD and Blu-ray release, due in September courtesy of E1. Commenting on its performance, producer James Richardson said: "The success of StreetDance 3D has far exceeded our expectations. The fact that an independent British film has beaten the US heavyweights  just shows how well StreetDance 3D has connected with audiences across the country."
Speaking of E1, the company has just announced its full year results, which show it making a £6.9 million pre-tax profit compared to the previous year's £30 million plus loss. Buoyed by Peppa Pig's continued success and the performance of the ubiquitous Twilight Saga, revenues at the ambitious media company increased by some 30 per cent. It is now aiming for a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Talking of profits, BBC Worldwide has adopted a "wait and see" policy following revelations in the Guardian about its own year end figures. Its profits, director general Mark Thompson noted in a speech, are as much as £140 million, up almost 40 per cent on the previous year. All BBC Worldwide is saying is that all will be revealed come the publication of its annual report in July and refused to confirm these figures. However, the fact we loved related to the annual Doctor Who DVD (and Blu-ray) sales of 3.3 million units, a figure bettered only by the 7 million plus action figures sold...      

And that mention of TV on DVD brings us on to what seems to have been a momentous period for televisual fare over the past seven days or so. First there was the final episode(s) of Lost, screened over the weekend in the US and UK. Kudos to Sky, whose bold move of airing the programme over here at the same time as the US transmission (meaning a 5am start for UK viewers, we recorded it on a VCR as we don't have any PVR) helped reintroduce a genuine kind of watercooler moment as well as beating the pirates, illegal downloaders and Internet warriors intent on spoiling the finale. What's more, that appears to have created demand for the impending DVD release and given it a must-see aura. With viewing figures for this series being the best since it transferred to Sky, things are looking up for WDSHE's home entertainment release slated for September 20. The major is still working on its marketing plans, as well as the finished package (currently rumoured to include an epilogue to the series), but it this week promised The Raygun an "event-style" campaign.

Ditto 24... The series ended in the US this week and makes its final bow on Sky over the weekend. And Fox too is currently preparing for its autumn release (the title is out in October and it has already started advertising pre-orders alongside retailers).

Also on the TV front, congratulations to HBO, which last week proved that vampires are still where it's at when it comes to home entertainment, thanks to the impressive DVD and Blu-ray launch for True Blood. HBO released the second season alongside a double pack pairing both seasons of the programme. And it shifted some 32,000 units along the way, buoyed by some meaty marketing and some juicy PR activity, including major promotions in The Sun and The People (see our website for more). That made it the bestselling week one achieved by a TV programme in value terms this year, outstripping the recent launch of Glee. HBO's Ian Fullerton said: "We’re delighted with the result at HBO. There was some concern that the hot weather would affect our week one sales but in the end that didn’t materialise with season 2 showing more than a 40 per cent increase on season one." Better news still comes from the fact that the third season is on the way, it airs in the US next month ahead of its UK bow (and, as Fullerton added: "It features some werewolf action along with the normal fang stuff.").

Over in the UK last week, courtesy of Lionsgate, was Tyler Perry. "Who?" we hear you ask... Well, in a few months time you won't be wondering who the hell Tyler Perry is, as the company is set to give the star, one of America's current biggest box office draws (a whopping $400 million revenue and counting), a full launch in the UK. August 23 sees four Perry films, Why Did I Get Married, Daddy's Little Girls, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion get a long overdue DVD release, ahead of the theatrical launch of Why Did I Get Married Too early in September. Perry and Why Did I Get Married and its sequel star Janet Jackson flew over last week for a round of press interviews and a premiere at Brixton's Ritzy cinema (bringing a halt to traffic in the surrounding area, see our website for a picture). With a live appearance on Graham Norton's show already aired and some 50 plus TV, press, radio and other interviews completed to tie in with the release strategy, Perry looks set to repeat his success over here. Lionsgate's Marie-Claire Benson said: "We are delighted that after years in planning Tyler Perry was finally able visit to the UK with his leading lady, international icon Janet Jackson for the launch of his latest movie. He has been a tour de force in the US for many years now, and has a dedicated band of followers in the UK already. He remarked that it is great to be able to walk down the street in London and not get mobbed as he does in the US, but we intend to change that with our release strategy this summer."

One character who is already entirely familiar as a home entertainment bestseller is Donnie Darko, the eponymous character from the film of the same name (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) who effectively went from the arthouse to the mainstream thanks to DVD in its formative years. With sales of almost 2 million units, it is arguably one of the coolest big sellers of the DVD era. Well, after helping establish that nascent format, Donnie Darko is set to land on Blu-ray. Metrodome will be releasing this sumptuous package on July 19 as an extras-laden double disc BD. Metrodome's Jezz Vernon said: "The Blu-ray release will be a double disc with both the original and the directors cut and every extra ever created – it's one of the great independent phenomena of our time with 1.9 million units sold and we’re delighted to now open the next chapter with the hi-def release. The front image is a homage to the mythology of the four elements which is key to the film – we used the LA based design agency Art Machine to rebuild the iconic Frank image out of water." The package houses a booklet penned by industry stalwart and big pal of The Raygun Toby Weidmann. 

Sticking with Metrodome, the company has announced its recent batch of Cannes acquisitions, with a clutch of major theatrical and DVD deals inked. It has signed The Monk, a gothic horror starring the wonderful Vincent Cassel; big budget, special effects IMAX-friendly blockbuster Aftershock and My Best Enemy, a World War II thriller from the producers of The Counterfeiters for theatrical and DVD and, solely for home entertainment, Caught In The Crossfire, a thriller starring 50 Cent and Chris Klein. Metrodome ceo Mark Webster said: "Metrodome continues to build on its reputation as one of the most respected independent all-rights distributors in the UK. With this in mind, we are very pleased with the acquisitions concluded during Cannes."

Staying within the independent sector, next week sees the release of 1234 (not to be confused with from Universal and The Works), from Soda Pictures. It's the first home entertainment release from the Soda-supported New British Cinema Quarterly, an initiative that is aimed at supporting fresh and up and coming British talent. Each will have a theatrical release ahead of its DVD bow and, at the end of the first year, all four will be brought together in a box set alongside a major publication looking at British cinema. The second release, No Greater Love, is due on DVD from Soda on June 28, with the third, Skeletons, opening at cinemas in July.

If you thought June was only going to be about the World Cup, think again. Online rental and digital retailer LOVEFiLM is launching a major promotion aimed at driving take-up of its digital offering. The month-long Extra Time promotion offers free online films and TV programming from World Cup kick-off day, June 11. It is on offer to both existing and new customers and takes in thousands of titles. Chief marketing officer Simon Morris said: "This is the biggest ever digital promotion and a first of its kind in the UK. We are already the market leader when it comes to instantly streaming films and TV series direct to computers and internet-enabled TVs, and this month-long trial is a great way to highlight our full DVD and digital streaming hybrid offering to give more choice, value and convenience to our members."

And just to finish, don't forget this weekend sees the bi-annual London MCM Expo event taking place at the Excel in Docklands. Alongside the familiar faces (several studios, Anchor Bay> Manga, MVM, and the likes), and the already announced first look at Ultramarines, based on the Warhammaer 40,000 series, there'll also be a special appearance by Starman. If you're familiar with Sky's Pineapple Dance Studios (coming soon to DVD, we hear), we'll see you down the front...

"Look, I'm a middle aged bloke with two kids, I should hate Skins but I absolutely love it. And then I talk to my mates, people not in the film industry, and it's the same thing - they watch it and they love it and it's all down to the quality of the production." CinemaNX's Steve Christian on Skins – The Movie, which has been announced next week with a UK theatrical release next year. Now news on UK DVD rights yet...

Good to see Paramount's Up In The Air off to a good start this week and, at the same time, boasting some strong PR coverage over the weekend. Star Vera Farmiga, who was nominated for both the Academy Awards and BAFTAs for her role in that film, also appears in somewhat different circumstances in In Tranzit, due from Universal next week. Rather than jetting across the States, accruing air miles and credit cards, she is a prison camp guard in the war-torn Soviet Union. It's tough but ultimately worth persevering with. The title is being supported by online trailering and a press campaign. See the trailer here.   

We've covered Streetdance 3D extensively elsewhere, but don't forget it's a mightily impressive performance. It saw off stiff competition from Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, the latest Jerry Bruckheimer adventure romp, which ended up at number two. Bollywood outing Kites opened to an impressive £273,958, boasting the week's second highest per screen average, while Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans took almost £180,000. In the US, meanwhile, the latest instalment in the Shrek franchise, Forever After, took the top slot with an opening bow of more than $70 million.  

After what seems like a wait of oh, about 30 years, the remake of Logan's Run is, according to reports this week, back on track again. Of course the wait hasn't been three decades long, but anyone familiar with the plot will know that the original sci-fi classic starring Michael York, originally released in 1976, was set in a future where anyone reaching the age of 30 was killed by the state (and on their birthday too). There's been talk of a remake doing the rounds for some 10 years now, although the project was believed to have gone cold, the remake now looks as if it's back on. Warner is said to have stepped up its development plans, with talks going on with advertising director Carl Rinsch alongside producers Joel Silver and Akiva Goldsman. We welcome it, although it'll be tough to replace the dream team of York and Jenny Agutter...

More on that Megan Fox quitting/being fired from Transformers 3 story. Why? Because there is something about it that is just fascinating. It's a kind of behind the scenes event that has somehow crossed over into the real world... It appears as if Fox, "sources" now say, was given the big E over her weight, or rather lack of it. The notoriously picky franchise director Michael Bay (we'd hate to be getting ready to go out with him watching over us) is said to have objected over her size zero-style appearance and wanted her to add a few curves before filming began. This led to the spat that led to Fox exiting the film. Of course, there was a certain amount of bluff and brinksmanship on show (a bit like the BA cabin crew dispute, only with slightly more ego involved), but sources (all over the place by the look of it) have said we have now reached the point of no return. Supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely is now in the frame, according to the latest round of rumours.

We could never see it happening over here (perish the thought, says The Raygun, even if we do know where some of the bodies are buried...), but the life of a trade journalist will be the subject of a newly-commissioned HBO series. Tilda is set to star Diane Keaton as the eponymous heroine, the self-styled "most feared woman in Hollywood", a columnist and journalist with impeccable contacts and an acid tongue (just like... oh, hang on, on second thoughts...). Juno's Ellen Page is now joining the cast of the series, which, if it gets it right, should be something like The Devil Wears Prada. Tilda herself is said to be based on LA Weekly columnist and Deadline founder Nikki Finke. And instead of suing, as might have been likely, Finke is, according to reports, acting as a consultant to the show. Now you mention it, maybe it's not such a bad idea. That's it for At The Movies this week, we're off to get an agent...  

This week you haven't been able to move for tweets about Lost and, nearly on the same level, 24, which both drew to a close on US (and UK) screens. Follow The Raygun with our tweets on what we've just seen and what we've been up to (it's more interesting than it sounds) at

Most in our industry should be well acquainted with the wonderful MovieMail website by now, but we've enjoyed reading this over the past week.;utm_source=em519

We've shared a drink ahead of his impending nuptials with a certain Mr Robert Callow and, it appeared at any rate, a fair few characters who may or may not like to be referred to as industry veterans and also swanned off to the premiere of Universal and The Works' (a dead cert for home entertainment if ever we saw one, as would befit the involvement of Universal home entertainment executives such as Johnny Fewings) as well as fitting in a screening of Manga's family friendly feature Professor Layton And The Eternal Diva. Heck, we've even managed to see the future, playing with an iPad and taking part in an online press conference, streamed via Ready To Air, for ITV Studios' excellent cop series, Identity.   

The second trailer for Warner's Jonah Hex. Come on, she's not that skinny...;jsessionid=4ppbn4bpr11wg

Already causing a bit of a stir thanks to its festival appearances, due from Icon:

Quality horror fare:

Loads of activity all over the Internet for Toy Story 3... Seek and ye shall find:

Armored (SPHE)
Astro Boy (E1)
Ben 10 Alien Force Complete Season 1 (Warner)
Ben 10 Alien Force Volume 3 (Warner)
Benny Hill Annual 1982 (Network)
Benny Hill Annual 1983 (Network)
Blitz Street (2entertain)
Bodyguards And Assassins (E1)
The Book Of Eli (EV)
Daybreakers (Lionsgate)
The FA Cup Final 2010 (Spirit)
The Graves (Anchor Bay)
Happy Birthday Fifi (2entertain)
Holy Water (Centurion)
In Tranzit (Universal Pictures)
Jack Cardiff Cameraman (Optimum)
Lewis Series 4 (ITV Studios)
London's Burning: The Complete Series 14 (Network)
The Miracle Of Saint Ralph (Revolver)
Money (2entertain)
One Night In Turin (Kaleidoscope)
Satan’s Baby Doll (Shameless)
The Seasons With Alan Titchmarsh (2entertain)
The Sky Crawlers (Manga)
Twentieth Century Boys Trilogy (4 Digital Media)
Vengeance (Optimum)
Winter In Wartime (Kaleidoscope)

The Apple (Artificial Eye)
Arsenal FC Season Review 09/10 (ITV Studios)
Ballykissangel Series 6 (2 entertain)
The Beekeeper (Artificial Eye)
Bleach Series 4 Part 3 (Manga)
The Bold And The Brave (Optimum)
Border Post (HB Films)
Brothers (Lionsgate) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Cannibal Apocalypse (Optimum)
Chelsea FC Season Review 2009/2010 (Spirit)
Chris Ryan’s Strike Back (2 entertain)
CSI Miami Complete Season 7 (Momentum)
Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 7 (HBO)
Disgaea Collection (MVM)
Doctor Who Series 5 V1 (2 entertain)
Eagles Over London (Optimum)
The End of Love (Network)
The Essential Claude Chabrol Volume 2 (Artificial Eye)
Exam (SPHE)
Fate Stay Night 6 (MVM)
Flickers The Complete Series (Network)
Food Inc (Dogwoof)
The Foursome (SHowbox)
Gantz Complete Collection (MVM)
Genius Of Britain (4DVD)
The Genius Of Design (Acorn)
Gunparade March Collection (MVM)
Home (Universal)
Homecoming (Momentum)
Horrid Henry’s Football Fiends (Abbey)
Housebroken (Showbox)
The Incredible Hulk (Clear Vision)
Kurosawa Samurai Collection (BFI)
La La Land (ITV DVD)
Lazytown Football Crazy (2 entertain)
Liverpool FC Season Review 09/10 (ITV Studios)
The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue (Optimum)
Lizard In A Woman’s Skin (Optimum)
Mahoromatic - Something More Beaufitul 1 (MVM)
Merantau Warrior (E1 Entertainment)
The Narrows (High Fliers)
Ponyo (DVD and Blu-ray)
A Prophet (Optimum) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Psych: Season 2 (Universal Playback)
Red Sun (Optimum)
Ripple Effect (High Fliers)
Robo-Geisha (Cine Asia)
Saracen The Complete Series (Network)
See How They Fall (Optimum)
Silent Witness Series 5 and 6 (2 entertain)
A Single Man (Icon)
Small Island (ITV Studios)
South Africa Walks Julia Bradbury (Acorn)
Spider-Man 5000 (Clear Vision)
Step-By-Step Strength (Acacia)
The Story Of Science (2 entertain)
Suddenly Last Winter (Network)
Top Gear The Challenges 4 (2 entertain)
Under The Stars (HB Films)
U2 360 In The Rose Bowl (Mercury)
The Valdez Horses (Optimum)
Waterloo Road Series 5 (Acorn)
The Wolfman (Universal)

 Fish Story (Thrd Window Films)
The Happiest Girl In The World (Soda)
The Losers (Optimum)
Rec 2 (E1)
Sex And The City 2 (Warner)
Space Chimps 2 (Entertainment)
Tooth Fairy (Fox)

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