NEWSLETTER :: August 19 2010

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It Was A Good Week For... Metrodome, enjoying more box office success and a buyouy, and Toy Story, again…

It Was A Bad Week For… Shrek, knocked off its perch as the most successful animated film ever…

We've visited Revolver's swanky new premises in Holland Park twice in the past fortnight and they really are dream offices – the kind of place many of us could only hope to work in, they were also, trivia fans, the site for David Hemmings' studio in Antonioni's Blow-Up. Anyway, our second visit coincided with hearing about the company's plans for Q4 and beyond. It is understandably buoyant about the months ahead, given the new offices and the success of its Gunslinger production arm with its first title Shank. Its diverse slate takes in special interest programming as well as feature film. It's in the former it kicks off with, as Revolver's best pal Danny Dyer returns with an own goals-style release to follow on from last year's 60,000 seller. Dyer's already notched up sales this year of 650,000 units across his catalogue, a figure expected to reach 1 million by year end, aided, no doubt, by this TV advertised title. "He's no longer DVD gold," said new head of marketing Jon Sadler, "he's DVD platinum." Also on the special interest side, albeit at the other end of the spectrum from Dyer, comes a title that's wise to the current fad, How To Streetdance, featuring a step by step guide to how to dance just like your favourite stars. Its biggest feature film is Heartbreaker, the "incredibly well received" romcom that will be backed by TV and radio advertising. Its exit polls (97 per cent approval, the highest in Revolver's history) suggest many will go on to buy and its word of mouth is also growing. "We're really going to get the full weight of our marketing support behind it," said Sadler. It also has a seasonal release in The Secret Of the Christmas Nutcracker, starring, among others, Brian Cox and likely to be boosted with a TV campaign. On more familiar territory for Revolver is its post-Christmas release Bonded By Blood. On the DTV side, a sector that Revolver has excelled in, there's Siege Of The Dead, a German zombie film and Asian actioner Clash.

Due from Revolver next year – BBFC willing – is A Serbian Film. And if you haven't heard about it yet, we guarantee you that you will have pretty soon. Its country of origin is obvious from the title, but this visceral outing has currently got film and especially horror message boards ablaze and is set for huge controversy on its release. Also from Revolver next year is Nick Moran's next outing, The Kid and the latest from its Gunslinger imprint.

From impossibly glamorous and rogue special forces agents to murderous teenage hoodlums and psychotic prom queens – and that's just October – leading indie operation Optimum has a busy schedule of new, theatrically released feature films, DTV titles, new to Blu-ray special editions, the odd anime title and more. Its October in particular is packed with titles, from Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz in the conmen title The Brothers Bloom; chiller The Loved Ones; Tony Jaa in Ong-bak 3 and seasoned veteran Steven Seagal in Born To Raise Hell; as well as the wonderfully titled Zombies Of Mass Destruction; the erotic tale Room In Rome; urban hoodie nightmare F; a new Blu-ray addition from Studio Ghibli, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind and, in a world first, a Blu-ray box set of Guillermo del Toro films.  November has Carlos The Jackal; the animated tale The Secret Of Kells as well as more animation in A Town Called Panic; martial arts actioner True Legend, starring Michelle Yeoh; Radu Mihaileanu's The Concert; the recent theatrical outing Splice and, a little different from other Optimum releases, a collection of music promos from Hammer and Tongs, who went from making videos for the likes of Fatboy Slim to Son Of Rambow. Into December and Optimum has a brace of titles slated for the post-Christmas slot, with The Last Exorcism on the horror side and more from Seagal in True Justice.       
On the website this week – more additions to our My Inspiration feature from Metrodome's Toby Weidmann and Elevation's Phil Davis and loads more. Visit us here.
Business news and long after it was first mooted, Metrodome has completed is acquisition of rights management operator Target Entertainment. The deal takes in Target's rights businesses, its distribution and consumer product teams and its production labels Target US and Pink Sands and enables Metrodome's distribution operation to link up with Target's rights management in what Metrodome ceo Mark Webster described as "a perfect fit". The deal was worth £800,000 and will see Metrodome invest some £3 million in Target's business, with the pair offering combined existing revenues of more than £20 million. Webster said: "Metrodome has significant financial backing, and we have been looking for a complimentary business to combine with our profitable film distribution operation over the past months. Target Entertainment is a perfect fit, which we predict will double our revenue and the size of the business within a short space of time."

Metrodome had further cause for celebration this week with the performance of its Oscar-winning The Secret In Their Eyes. The film opened last weekend and boasted a screen average of £5,604, the highest for an independent foreign language film since Amores Perros almost 10 years ago. The first weekend haul for the film, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was more than £85,000, with an anticipated first week haul of £160,000. It will double the number of screens it plays on this Friday. It sets the seal on Metrodome's recent run of box office successes from the likes of I Am Love and Leaving which have grossed more than £1.2 million at the box office between them.  

Meanwhile, Arrow Video, the horror and cult-film friendly imprint of long-standing world cinema specialist Arrow Films is busy putting the finishing touches to its next impressive DVD and Blu-ray box set, Dario Argento's Inferno. Like the company's previous outings, it is a labour of love, featuring different sleeve options (including one specially commissioned by Arrow), postcards, a collectors booklet and a double sided poster. The title itself, available for the first time on DVD (and BD, obviously), features a wealth of extras. The series has made a name for itself with horror aficionados for the care and attention that goes into the releases. "We wanted to do something to get the fans excited," said Arrow's Alex Agran. "In a declining market, a lot of DVDs look sterile. We wanted to bring something back to the fans of cult movies, give them something different. We're developing a reputation as being the best cult label around. [For Inferno] we've been working with the materials and on the restoration for five or six months." See the packshot and trailer up on our website here:    

Arrow Video's sister label Arrow Films remains equally busy too. One of the more intriguing titles on its slate is Sliding Doors. It certainly raised our eyebrows to see the Gwyneth Paltrow starrer, once at Paramount, being released via an independent. It's due out on September 6. Alex Agran said: "This was a once in a blue moon opportunity that gives us the ability to get into the supermarkets with a really compelling product."

It's the announcement that the geeks have been waiting for for some time: Star Wars is on its way to Blu-ray. The killer app that should prove a further boost to the format as a while is definitely coming, George Lucas confirmed this week, although it won't be hear for at least a year – the due date is "fall 2011" (what we call autumn). As well as seeing all six films in the saga coming to BD, the release promises to have "documentaries, vintage behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, retrospectives and never-before-seen footage from the Lucasfilm archives". Given Lucas' proclivity for putting brand new extras on new versions of the Star Wars franchise, then this is means a whole bunch of "new" old material. Lucas said: "Blu-ray is the absolute best way to experience Star Wars at home – in pristine high definition. The films have never looked or sounded better." Little else has been announced – the release was unveiled at Star Wars Celebration V (effectively a Comic-Con solely for Star Wars fans) – so expect a full 12 months' worth of speculation…

Talking of Star Wars, in the cognoscenti won't have to wait a full year to get their hands on the next piece of Star Wars-related DVD business, as Anchor bay finalises plans for its October 4 release Fanboys. While not a Lucas film, per se, this tale of a gang of pals who head off on a quest to break into Lucas' mansion is aimed fairly and squarely at fans of the films. Promotional activity has already begun, with Twitter and Facebook activity as well as clips at events such as last weekend's Empire Moviecon. It will also screen at this year's Frightfest ("All of these events have and will be attended by a crew dressed in full Star Wars gear and a street team handing out posters and other gifts and generally spreading the Fanboys release message," said Anchor Bay's Thom Leaman). There is also a major promotion with Future magazines, including SFX and Total Film, looking for the ultimate Fanboy, as well as a sponsorship promotion on Bauer TV channels and a launch party and screening in conjunction with Sci-Fi London. Leaman said: "The fact that Fanboys is toplined by the cream of current US comedy talent [Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell etc] and revolves around Star Wars and geekdom in general in one respect makes it a relatively easy product to target. Moreover it makes the film ripe for a slightly more unorthodox campaign. It's all about engagement with the fanboys (and girls) themselves and to that end we’ll even have Strom Troopers marching up and down central London day of release hustling naysayers (in a friendly way) into the shops to buy it."


Now, we at The Raygun, like a lot of people in this industry, have got fairly extensive collections of, er, stuff. We've kept our freebies over the years – somewhere in the loft we've still got a Weekend At Bernie's II calculator nestling next to our Palace Classics and early Artificial Eye releases on VHS up in the loft. And we know we're not the only ones. But the crisp packet collection featured in Monday's Metro newspaper really was something else. And who does it belong to? Why, the BVA's marketing supremo, Hannah Conduct. She'd told us about the collection before and we were mightily impressed, but the newspaper appearance set the seal on the proceedings. And from what we understand, press interest has picked up since this announcement, so we fully expect to see more items in the weeks ahead… We just hope it doesn't leave her feeling too Frazzled. See it here.   

Acquisitions news and Network Releasing has picked up the rights to Dream Home, an acclaimed Asian slasher that centres on the cut-throat – quite literally – property market in Hong Kong. It stars Josie Ho, a hugely popular Chinese pop star as a woman who embarks on a killing spree after being priced out of the housing market (we've all been there). Network md Tim Beddows said: "This topical horror movie is going to create a buzz amongst horror and world cinema fans in the UK and we are delighted to have secured the deal." The film will open in November theatrically, with DVD to follow.  

Recruitment news as The Official Charts Company, aka OCC, has appointed Giles Jones to the new role of commercial head. The games industry veteran will help build the company's commercial work, overseeing sales of its video (and music) data in and outside of the entertainment business as well as overseeing licensing of the charts to media partners. Business development manager Luke Whalley will report in to him. OCC md Martin Talbot said: "It is great to have someone new on the team with broad experience in sales, retail and distribution, and licensing, with a background of multiplying revenues through the development of new services. As well as taking [data services] to market, Giles’ role will also be about talking to our existing partners and clients about the services we currently provide. In addition, he will also be talking to representatives in other sectors to explore how our unrivalled music and video data can help them – sectors including advertising, broader retailing, toy industry and games business."

Over to Ireland, where there were more celebrations, as the newly formed Irish arm of Lace Digital Media Sales (LDMS), barely two months in existence, saw its Totally Jedward Sketchbook, distributed on behalf of Wienerworld, enjoy a second week at number one in the Irish music charts. The operation believes it is already helping in its aim of giving LDMS labels exposure to a wider market and believes retailers are welcoming its titles with open arms. Sales director Eoghan Burke explained why the retailers and consumers alike are buying into LDMS labels' activity, saying: "I believe it’s down the diversity of the labels we currently distribute, they are all experts in their own fields, so when I had the idea for this project, all I had to do was pick up the phone to Anthony in Wienerworld and this is the result. Its also down to spending time with our customers and listening to them to find out what their requirements are, and then act on them." Wienerworld's Anthony Broza added: "This is another awesome collaboration between Wienerworld and our fabulous distributors LDMS."

Two years it was X-Men Origins Wolverine that slipped out onto that Internet thingy ahead of its theatrical release, and this year another Fox title, Vampires Suck, has been cursed. The film was downloaded more than 100,000 times from Torrent sites ahead of its US premiere last weekend, according to website Torrent Freak. Like Wolverine, its appearance is notable as this is no camcordered in a cinema copy, it's an (unfinished) workprint, offering illegal downloaders a chance to see a good quality copy of something before its theatrical bow. Unlike Wolverine last year, Fox's approach has been a little more low-key, although its legal department has been flying off warning letters and takedown requests to Torrent sites and Google.   

Got a spare $20 and an old Sopranos box set? Then you could upgrade it to Blu-ray, as Warner in the States adds a wealth of TV box sets, including some from the HBO stable, to its US-only DVD2Blu offer ( All the consumer needs to do is send off their old film (or in the case of a box set such as The Sopranos, the first disc), pay a nominal fee (from $4.95 for films) and, hey presto, they get sent the Blu-ray versions… 

"I am very concerned about what has come to light. It looks as though sources at the Film Council have been overzealously briefing in order to protect their interests. As a result they may be damaging the film industry that they purport to represent. This is completely wrong and I will be seeking urgent reassurances that the Film Council will promote the interests of the film industry rather than its own from now on." The row over the government's plans to abolish the UK Film Council rumbles on, as minister Ed Vaizey criticises the organisation for lobbying against its impending demise. Either that or he's a bit peeved about the publicity the whole thing is attracting…


We've made the comment before, but Dead Cert really is a meeting of two of the most popular DTV genres, as London East End gangsters – Craig Fairbrass and a host of familiar faces – take on a bunch of vampires in a territorial fight to the death, or rather, un-death. It's as much fun as you'd expect it to be, keeping its fangs firmly in its cheek, and Momentum will be supporting its release with a suitably ambitious TV campaign, with 10 second spots on Channels 4 and five, as well as selected satellite channels. A press campaign will target a male audience, as will pre-roll advertising on websites such as The Sun, FHM, Nuts, Top Gear and Zoo. "We're taking a two -pronged attack as we know this film appeals to horror fans but has the added bonus of being set against a gritty London gangster backdrop, so it will appeal to general film fans and fans of gangster movies alike," said Momentum's Clare Dundrow.

Toy Story 3 continues apace, it's now made almost £60 million and has taken back the franchise's place as the highest worldwide grossing animated film ever from Shrek (the second one had taken it from the first Toy Story film). Inception is now approaching £30 million in the UK, while family friendly fare The Last Airbender and Sorcerer's Apprentice both topped out at more than £1 million, the former performing the better of the two. In the US The Expendables, for the guys, and Eat Pray Love, for the women, were numbers one and two respectively.

Jumper was one of those sci-fi movies that split the fan base. Some, like us, enjoyed it, but at least one person whose opinion we trust was vehemently opposed to it and lambasted us for saying we thought it was pretty good fun. And it was hardly a runaway success either, but the talk this week is of an impending sequel to the film. Yup, that's right. Star Hayden Panetierre (the cheerleader off Heroes) has this week been openly discussing the sequel and it looks as if director Doug Liman is into the idea, so it may yet happen.

Another week and the Internet gets all hot under the collar and a bit flushed when talking about women starring in comic book adaptations. This week the fanboys were getting all flustered over January Jones (Betty Draper in the excellent Mad Men) is said to be starring in the X-Men: First Class franchise reboot. She'll be joining James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon and a whole bunch of other people, although frankly, there's been so many rumours we can't remember which ones are real and which aren't any more. Heck, we could be starring in it for all we know…

Some more highbrow news now, and anyone remember Lars Von Trier's Dimension project? He planned to film over 30-plus years to follow, in real-time, an ongoing story (about the march of time, naturally). Filming started in 1991 and, in recent years, er, not much. It appeared as if the director had got bored of the idea. Well, it's now set to surface, some 14 years ahead of its initial planned release date, as part of a free DVD with Danish magazine Ekko. More here, if you can understand it, although the disc will also include goodies involving Thomas Vinterberg and Aki Kaurismaki.    

Basically, it's all about Scott Pilgrim, causing an unbelievable stir in the UK ahead of its release… Keep up with us on

This week's most talked about item:

And this week's strong horror trailer:

A romcom that looks better than the average genre fare:

Surprisingly, we haven't had this yet, Icon has it for UK:

Not quite a trailer, but here's a bonus goodie:

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