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It Was A Good Week For... The Hateful Eight shows that Tarantino still has the clout, as HMV rises again…
It Was A Bad Week For… Both the pirates and fears over the future of some of those fighting the pirates…

Both the light side and the dark side look as if they’ve been defeated by the hateful side as the eighth full Quentin Tarantino outing, The Hateful Eight, looks set to dislodge Star Wars: The Force Awakens from its slot at the top of the Official Charts Company’s listings this week. The Western had usurped the revitalised Force to be reckoned with in the organisation’s midweek charts, selling some 63,000 units along the way. The title, released by Entertainment, aka EV, or even EiV, is outselling the number two by two to one. Commenting on its success, recently appointed Paul O’Hare said: “We are delighted with the performance of The Hateful Eight even though the sales performance through the week has been a little uneven due to the weather. The support from retail has been strong and the title looks great in-store.  We are brimming with pride to be number one in the market particularly when you consider the launch has been delivered by three people – well done to Katie, Fiona and Patrick.” Elsewhere, Room was in at number four in the midweeks, with the latest X-Men outing helping its predecessor Days Of Future Past back up to 18. Heroes Reborn was in at 20, while the likes of Peter Kay’s Car Share and The Night Manager enjoying revivals in the light of BAFTA success, or, in the case of the latter, just its star being buff at the ceremony…
Meanwhile, HMV was celebrating this week after its strong performance in the first quarter of 2016 saw it usurp Tesco to become the second biggest entertainment retailer behind Amazon in the latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel. Commenting on the figures, taking in the first quarter of 2016, Kantar’s Fiona Keenan said: “Such a strong performance from HMV has not been seen since it entered administration in 2013. HMV has really focused on creating an in-store environment that stimulates and excites consumers like it did in its heyday. This focus is clearly reflected in the fact that over half of its sales this quarter came from customers who hadn’t planned to make a purchase – significantly higher than the market average of 38 per cent.” It further cemented the return of bricks and mortar stores, market share from the high street accounted for 69.8 per cent of entertainment spend, up two points from last year. Keenan added: “Despite recent high profile casualties for high street fashion retailers the performance of bricks and mortar entertainment stores has demonstrated the strong appeal this channel still holds for consumers. High street entertainment spend declined by just two per cent this quarter in contrast with a 12% fall online.” Music was the strongest of the three arms, falling by 1 per cent – video declined by 6 per cent. It must be noted, the figures cover the period ahead of the release of Star Wars The Force Awakens, which should add a further spike to the category. Chief titles in the quarter included Spectre, more than four out of five copies were sold in supermarkets, with almost half of all Spectre sales coming through Tesco. And 45 per cent of those Tesco purchasers hadn’t bought a DVD from the retailer for the previous year. 

Dominating news and talk in and around the industry this week has been piracy, in all its various forms, as well as the battle against it, so much so it’s hard to know where to start. But we’ll kick off with some good news in the shape of a successful prosecution after an investigation by its officers alongside Hertfordshire Trading Standards. It saw Andrew Thornton, of Corby, Northants, jailed for 30 months for selling snide DVDs and CDs from two stalls at Bovingdon market. This, in turn, came after a mammoth three year investigation which saw 27,000 discs worth £2 million seized. After one arrest, Thornton made a cheeky reference to the Leonardo Di Caprio film Catch Me If You Can, a fact that probably didn’t help in the sentencing. Judge Marie Catterson said: “It indicates your contemptuous attitude to the enforcement authorities and your total lack of remorse at that time.” Thornton’s wife is expecting their fifth child and he had subsequently found legitimate employment, but the judge said his “flagrant criminality” needed a jail term. “I give credit for your recent legitimate employment,” she said, “earning an honest living and doing well, which is a good sign for the future and will stand you in good stead, but this offending is far too serious to be dealt with in any other way that immediate custody.” FACT’s Kieron Sharp said: “We would like to thank Hertfordshire Trading Standards for their efforts in this extensive investigation and will continue to work with them to protect consumers and legitimate businesses from falling victim to intellectual property crime.” A confiscation order will take place in August.  
Interesting news came from a paper published by researches from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in the US (a real place, apparently) which studied the effect of takedown notices on illegal downloading of films. And it suggests that, contrary to what those going to Torrent files for snide copies of films and TV might tell you, blocking access to sites does work. Its study concentrated on the aftermath of a UK court ruling against more than 50 sites in 2014. It noted a 22 peer cent fall in piracy for UK users of those sites, and a 16 per cent drop in piracy across all UK internet users. What’s more, there was an increase in using legitimate TV sites such as the BBC (some 10 per cent) and 6 per cent rise in Netflix and svod usage. Dr Brett Danaher, who conducted the research, said, on strip to Australia, currently a hotbed of illegal downloads, said: Many observers argue that blocking access to pirate sites will simply cause pirates to move to other, unblocked sites, leaving demand for legal content unchanged. I have yet to see them point to a good empirical study showing that that is 100 per cent of the reaction to these kinds of policies.” He added that those downloading multiple films, more than they could watch, would not change their behaviour, but other less entrenched illegal downloaders might be more inclined to give up. 
And this week also saw the government finally officially unveil its eagerly awaited updated strategy for dealing with piracy and counterfeit goods, Protecting Strategy, Supporting Innovation: IP Enforcement 2020. It offered up overview of the current state of play, and assessed the state of size and scale of the challenge from IP crime and infringement, and how to deal with them. It laid out six key commitments and objectives: reducing illegal content online, tackling the sale of counterfeit goods; improving the legal options available to rights holders and the authorities; increasing education and awareness; working closer across international borders and keeping a better record of the scope and scale of the problem. The report concluded: “Delivery of the commitments made in this document will not be easy, especially at a time where there are many other calls on the resources of government and where competing priorities will rightly have to be weighed in the balance. But even though other challenges and threats will emerge over the next 4 years, this document presents a roadmap for partnership working, which if followed, will deliver an enforcement environment for UK rights holders which continues to support their creativity and investment, and keeps the UK at the forefront of IP enforcement globally.”
The document was launched by IP government expert Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who talked about those aforementioned aims and ideals, noting, among other things: “We need to make it easier for consumers to recognise legitimate content, and to understand the harm caused by piracy. We also need to find a new model for notice and takedown which does not require rights holders to send millions of notices only to see the same content reposted as soon as it is taken down,” she said, adding: “We have announced our intention to toughen penalties for online copyright infringement. We have also called on the EU as part of their work on the digital single market to protect the system of website blocking injunctions we have developed in the UK, and to ensure those same injunctions are available in other member states. But we are also looking at new areas where we might need to create new legal tools to tackle new modes of infringement.” At the launch, which kicked off a seminar and debate among interested parties, she also went on the warn of the dangers of one of illegal streaming sites and set-top boxes, a growing threat according to those in the know. Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “It is clear that we need some new thinking in this area. The satellite and cable industries and broadcasters continue to invest in better security and enforcement, but it is also clear that the criminals are serious and this sort of organised crime generates huge profits. It is no coincidence that data centres for illegal streaming services tend to be concentrated in places like Russia and the Ukraine and are linked closely to dedicated fraud sites. We must first gather the evidence and intelligence we need. Only then can we look at the legislative framework, at the role of education and awareness raising, and at how we can facilitate closer work within the industries affected. There is no single device or clever trick which solve these sort of problems, but as our strategy lays out, we need instead to develop and maintain an entire toolbox of interventions and remedies.”
All of which made one of the week’s major talking points, surrounding the future of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, all the more worrying. FACT was this week assessing the best way forward after US studio trade body the MPA confirmed its plans to withdraw funding from the homegrown anti-piracy body at the end of 2016. The MPA is believed to be centralising its fight against piracy in EMEA territories from its Brussels HQ, a move greeted with dismay in some quarters. FACT has won friends in the industry – and gained enemies in the illegal film business – since its efforts at boot fairs, dodgy rental outlets and market stalls since the VHS era. In recent years, it has worked in closer collaboration with the MPA and other officials such as PIPCU, the City of London’s anti-piracy group. Fingers crossed for the organisation, which has been at the forefront of the fight against piracy in all its forms right through to its current battles in the illegal downloading and streaming arena, our business needs it as much as ever and pirates need to know their number one enemy is still on their tails.

We might as well stay with the ongoing fight and another key plank of the industry’s strategy, the Industry Trust For IP’s Moments Worth Paying For campaign, kicked in again, with its 24th burst of activity. This time it centres on forthcoming Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart starrer Central Intelligence. The ad kicked off in cinemas on May 6 ahead of the theatrical bow for the Universal title at the end of June for their comedy blockbuster and features its two stars looking at the key elements that make a film. In keeping with the best spots from the ongoing campaign, it’s a specially filmed slot, with clips from the film inserted. And, as with recent efforts, it directs consumers to The cinema spots will be further supported by outdoor and online activity. You’ll be able to watch it on our site shortly. 
Sticking with industry activity and Claudia Winkleman, among those collecting a gong for Strictly Come Dancing at last weekend’s BAFTA awards, has this week been confirmed as the presenter for this year’s BASE Awards, due to take place at Tobacco Dock next month. Winkleman said: “I’m thrilled to be invited back to host the BASE Awards, it was such a fun event last year, I can’t wait to do it again on June 9.” The ever will, BASE announced this week, have a dress code of bright and black (tie). It is nearly a sell out, contact
Available exclusively at HMV as a physical title ahead of a wider release on May 16, is the rather excellent All Things Must Pass, the documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records and Universal aired the film this week at the House of Vans this week, complete with director Colin Hanks, in town to promote his doc. As well as assorted press, the screening also saw former Tower staffers in the UK out in force to both see the film and take part in an exemplary Q&A with Hanks afterwards. Colin Dunlop is one of those former Tower employees in the UK, now working at HMV and involved in exclusive release of the film about the place where he once worked. “With broad appeal to our core customer base and subject matter following a story very close to our hearts having an exclusive window ahead of both digital and physical release has been fantastic for HMV,” said Dunlop. “Witnessing Tuesday's screening in the company of a number of ex-Tower colleagues proved at times a somewhat surreal experience with knowing glances aplenty being shared during some choice moments. Director Colin Hanks’ entertaining post screening Q&A revealed it had taken seven years to complete such was his passion that the final product keep to his original vision. A skilled raconteur, his revelation regarding how much time and effort was spent editing to ensure contributions from various celebrity participants didn't overshadow or interrupt the flow of the tale at hand was fascinating.” 
Tower Records as a brand is still alive and kicking in some territories – not least Ireland, as well as Japan. Gerry Brown worked both in Tower’s former flagship store at 1 Piccadilly (one of the world’s most desirable addresses) and is now at the Dublin outlet bearing the legendary fascia (based on the old Shell logo, as the film reveals). He said: “It was great to see this at first hand and it was a nice surprise to watch it with some of my ex-colleagues. I thought it was a great insight to how Tower worked and we still follow a lot of these procedures to this day even although we are a franchise which shows what a legacy they have created. Good to hear all about [founder Russ Solomon] as I had only met him a few times and felt that it told a great narrative of not just about Tower but what kind of person he was in those days and i am sure still is to this day.Some of the stories told i could relate to. We had a weeks exclusive and its in our main window. Sales here have been steady and it being an institution we get American visitors amazed that there is still a Tower Records here.” We’ll have more from Gerry and about Tower on our website shortly…
Sticking with Universal, but presenting an entirely different subject matter altogether, is Universal’s The Danish Girl, an awards-friendly drama featuring Eddie Redmayne in a much-talked about starring role alongside Alicia Vikander, whose star grows almost daily. The film, out already as a digital HD title and due on Monday May 16 as a physical release, with support coming in the form of print and digital advertising aimed at women aged between 25 and 54 years old. Pre-rolls are appearing on Channel 4 and there will be more on women’s lifestyle as well as news sites. Social media activity includes a live sketch on Instagram, while PR took a group of lucky journalists from the likes of The Independent and Huffington Post to  to Dublin to visit locations from the film and a related exhibition. Commenting on the release, Universal digital and product marketing manager Poonam Chudasama said: “Working on The Danish Girl has been a delight. It is a beautiful and touching film with a wonderfully talented cast.” 

eOne has had more than its fair share of awards-friendly hits in 2016, and another is scheduled to arrive on June 20 on DVD and Blu-ray in the shape of Trumbo, in which Hollywood shines a light on one of the darker moments in its history, as the McCarthy witch hunt of communists in liberal Hollywood saw the studios becoming complicit in  blacklisting anyone suspected of having left-leaning sympathies. Commenting on the release, the company’s Stephanie Don said: “Boasting an outstanding lead performance Bryan Cranston who was nominated for an Academy Award for this role, Trumbo is a fascinating insight into life on the Hollywood blacklist and we are delighted to be releasing on DVD and Blu-ray on 20th June.  Trumbo will look fantastic on shelf in a premium foil O-ring and the release will be supported by a comprehensive marketing and PR campaign that’ll be sure to include a lot of whiskey and cigars.
One of the most talked about announcements of the week came from Studiocanal, which unveiled plans for a 4K restoration and re-release to mark the 30th anniversary of Highlander. The Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery starrer will arrive on July 4 as an EST release and a week later on Blu-ray and DVD, complete with bonus material. These come after a world premiere of the newly cleaned up version at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 18. It prompted waves of interest on social media, such is the cachet of the 80s film. The company’s Alison Arber said: “We are thrilled to announce the stunning 4k restoration of much-loved 80’s classic Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. As well as a sold-out premiere of at this year’s Edinburgh film festival, to celebrate the films 30th anniversary, the DVD and Blu-ray will feature brand new artwork for the anniversary with a stunning mirror board finish. It goes without saying ‘There can be only one’.”
Sticking with Studiocanal, and due on for release ahead of Highlander, is the excellent The Assassin, a hit from last year’s London Film Festival. The martial arts meets arthouse hit arrives on May 16 as a digital HD release and on Blu-ray, where it will work a treat, and DVD on May 23. Commenting on the release, Studiocanal’s Olivia Dean said: “The Assassin outperformed all expectations at the box office earlier this year following being featured on many ‘best of’ lists in 2015 and we’re very excited to offer fans the chance to own Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s masterpiece. We’ve encapsulated the film’s stunning scenery, cinematography and storyline in the artwork and included limited edition matt art cards in the Blu-ray as an additional bonus. We’re supporting the release with a PR campaign targeting film fans, key genre and Asian film press; and media, spanning print, online and social outlets which utilise the fantastic critical responses and showcase the sheer beauty of the film.”

Returning to the headlines this week was one of Netflix’s most discussed TV series, the prison-based Orange Is The New Black. The coverage of a new trailer for the next series providing a strong launch pad for Lionsgate’s planned release of the third season on DVD on May 16. Commenting on the release, Lionsgate’s Courtney Ladd-Reinfrank said: “Orange is the New Black has really turned into a cultural phenomenon with strong global appeal and we are utilising the Season 4 premiere buzz to really target our core audience. Pre-orders for Season 3 have been strong, and our engaging press and media creative should really connect with the show’s established fanbase.”
The ever-expanding Screenbound company has added another label to its growing distributed labels roster after signing on the dotted line with fledgling imprint Gilt Edge Media. The label has already established itself among the UK’s top 100 according to Official Charts Company data, with the first two titles under the deal, through Screenbound’s physical distribution deal with Sony DADC being horror comedy He Never Died, starring punk rock legend Henry Rollins, and Elizabeth Banks comedy Walk Of Shame. Gilt Edge Media ceo Neil Ouzman said: ““We are delighted that Screenbound will be expanding the sales and distribution of our film portfolio, allowing us to concentrate upon further acquisitions and innovating the customer’s viewing and purchasing experiences through our sister companies.” Screenbound’s Alan Byron added: “It’s an ideal chance to work with a team who understand the supply chain and have belief in the future of physical products for the foreseeable future. It’s a great synergy as we can use our expertise to help sell and promote Gilt Edge Media’s films into traditional and fine distribution channels as well as liaising with them on content opportunities.”
Dateline: Cannes. The svod operators were again among the busiest at this year’s festival. One of the more interesting announcements came from Mubi, with the curated svod service partnering with the festival’s Directors’ Fortnight strand to present a year-long plan to air films that have starred at the festival on its service. It starts on May 16 with No, Another title will be added each month for a year. Commenting on the deal, Quinzaine’s artistic director Edouard Waintrop said: “Our collaboration with MUBI will encourage a wide-reaching appreciation and exploration of the rich heritage of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, which has been celebrating film in its most exciting forms since 1969. As a truly global service for discerning film lovers, we’re thrilled to be working with MUBI and bringing these unique stories and styles from the Croisette, to audiences worldwide.” Efe Cakarel, MUBI’s founder and CEO commented, “It is amazing to collaborate with such a prestigious partner like Quinzaine des Réalisateurs here in Cannes. They are an institution that champions the cinema we love and this is a great opportunity to bring audiences closer to the content that most inspires us.”
It’s a busy time for Mubi, as it prepares for the arrival of Miguel Gomes’ acclaimed Arabian Nights trilogy arrives at the end of May (May 27, 28 and 29) as an exclusive after its theatrical release through New Wave Films. Commenting on the release, Mubi’s UK programming director Chiara Maranon said: “Following a successful recent press trip to the UK for director Miguel Gomes and our theatrical release partnership with New Wave, we’re very excited to be bringing Miguel’s acclaimed trilogy to MUBI. The MUBI release is being backed by competitions, social media and press coverage and a special series of screenings at East London’s Close Up Cinema. We hope fans of strange and sublime will make time to join us on this spectacular journey into Portugal’s beguiling recent past which begins on the service on 27th May with Volume One and is followed on the 28th and 29th May with Volumes Two and Three.”

To Sony’s head office in Golden Square, in the heart of the West End, for a special screening of The Angry Birds Movie, the franchise that has seemingly taken over the world as its theatrical release arrives on Friday May 13. Our junior correspondents came along for the ride, and loved the film, which bodes well for the theatrical and later home entertainment release. Sony’s marketing for the title has been impressive too, with the partners and activity timed to keep the whole Angry Birds franchise at a premium right through until SPHE’s physical and digital HD bow later in the year. 
Disney still dominates at the box office, with the number one and two slots after the week ending May 8, in the form of Captain America Civil War and `The Jungle Book at numbers one and two, with almost £28 million and more than £36.8 million respectively. Bad Neighbours 2 started off with a bright £1.69 million, followed by other new entries Florence Foster Jenkins (£712,899), Robinson Crusoe (£575,321) and 24 with £70,621.
Films that you never thought would be turned into TV series parts 237 (and 238): The Exorcist and Lethal Weapon. Yup, some of the biggest films (and franchises) of the 1970s and 80s are both set to be turned into TV series… 
Fanboys’ news of the week: yes, there will be a Black Widow film, according to Marvel supremo, while, additionally, those in the know similarly greeted the stories that Michael Shannon is set to be in the next outing from the keister that is Guillermo del Toro… The film may or may not be called The Shape Of Water…
PTSD trailer of the week…
Great trailer, but surely it could have a better title…
A game changer, apparently…
One of those Gilt Edge titles (Red Band warning)…
We don’t normally do featurettes, but this is Bourne…
Nailed on best of 2016 contender…
Here’s the new Dan Brown…
Classy trailer of the week
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