Up, Up Gets Away
BFI takes dual route
Fitness still carries weight
Revolver's Haiti push
Band takes to Pacific
On the move...
Tenuous Avatar and Paranormal tales...
Quote Of The Week
Release Of The Week
At The Movies
Twitter Of The Week
Trailers Of The Week
Event Of The Week
Coming Soon On DVD And At Cinemas
It Was A Good Week For... Lovers, as Valentine's Day proved to be a winner with the DVD-buying public. Led by a quartet of titles (The Time Traveller's Wife, The Ugly Truth, Couples' Retreat and Love Happens) and some strong promotional activity, it showed that when our business puts its mind to it, it can work the right amount of titles and make a real seasonal, in-store event a success. "The industry has delivered on Valentine's Day," our source said. "It was a fantastic slate for the right time of year."
It was a bad week for... Well, it was inevitable, but the raft of offers on the Disney/Pixar release Up, made it hard for anyone to actually make any money on this successful title...
The latest Disney/Pixar release Up got off to a flying start this week and WDSHE was said to be encouraged with its strong showing in the first few days of release. With the right kind of weekend, perhaps buoyed by Sunday's BAFTAs, behind it, then sales could top the 500,000 mark for the first week. Equally heartening was the split between Blu-ray and DVD, with the former accounting for up to 20 per cent of overall sales.
Negotiations between Disney and assorted theatrical exhibitors are spreading around the world, according to reports from the US. The studio was locked in discussions with UK cinema chains last week (as reported on The Raygun), as it attempted to shorten the window on its forthcoming Tim Burton blockbuster Alice In Wonderland. Those discussions have continued in other territories, with Dutch exhibitors the latest to threaten a boycott. According to Variety, US cinema chains have been more receptive to the idea of shortening the theatrical to DVD windows than their UK and European counterparts, although it speculates that if they play hardball, then the US may be forced to follow suit, or, at least, demand similar terms to those on this side of the Atlantic. Other distributors are watching keenly, with many privately favouring shorter windows. In the UK, it is believed that negotiations last week led to a softening of the exhibitors' stance, although one is said to be standing firm.
Up, as mentioned above, has thrived in its dual format, DVD and Blu-ray combi pack (as WDSHE has dubbed it). Now another label is moving into the dual format territory, as the BFI has announced that it is ditching separate DVD and Blu-ray versions of its releases and instead combining the two into what it is calling Dual Format Editions. These editions, launching on April 26, will see the two formats, with the main feature and extras, sitting alongside each other in one package. They will retail at £19.99 and the first titles include three Japanese classics from Yasujiro Ozu, Tokyo Story, Late Spring and Early Summer. Commenting on the move, Sam Dunn, head of BFI Video, said: "With high street retailers such as HMV and Fopp increasingly pushed for floor space, we hope that this strategy will help to relieve the pressure of a saturated market, as well as providing DVD-only consumers with the perfect excuse to consider making the move to Blu-ray.
The fitness DVD is dead, long live the fitness DVD. Despite rumours of its demise and the ongoing threat of Nintendo's Wii, sales of fitness titles rose by more than six per cent in January 2010 compared to the same period 12 months earlier, according to figures from the BVA and OCC. Top of the pile was Hannah Waterman, whose Body Blitz received acres of publicity on its way to selling almost 75,000 units. Davina McCall sold more than 55,00 units of Davina Fit, taking 2entertain's lifetime sales for the brand past the 1 million mark. The BVA's Lavinia Carey said: "This January's growth in fitness DVD is undoubtedly down to the huge diversity available in routines, music and presenters. Whilst this year's chart shows that soap stars are once again extremely good at motivating the nation, the variety of titles on offer from TV presenters, pop stars and professionals means there is something out there for everyone when it comes to New Year's resolutions and working off the excesses of the festive season."
Dateline: Berlin. Acquisitions executives have been flocking to Berlin over the past week for the annual film festival sales bunfight. We're hearing the mood among UK representatives was more buoyant than last year, with a feeling of optimism sweeping the trade, helped, in no small part, by the continued success of DTV titles. Competition for the best DTV titles is fiercer than ever, with Asian movies of an epic, historical bent being, our source says, "top of the list". Some of the bigger players re now moving into this territory, while dragons have now joined the list alongside zombies, sharks, Nazis, Danny Dyer and Vinnie Jones as being prerequisite elements for a British DTV acquisition.
Perhaps one of the most active independents over in Germany this year was the fledgling Kaleidoscope label. It has has inked deals for more than 10 new titles to add to its burgeoning slate. Kaleidoscope supremo Spencer Pollard said: " We've been very busy [in Berlin] and secured more than 10 new titles, including Indonesian war trilogy Red And White, with the first film slated for a theatrical release at the end of this year."
Those philanthropic folks at Revolver have been busy again. Not content with being a driving force in putting together the Heroes: The Greatest War Movies Ever! charity compilation DVD raising cash for Help For Heroes, the independent is also helping host a charity screening for Action Against Hunger's work in Haiti. A celebrity hosted screening of Revolver's Haitian documentary Ghosts Of Cite Soleil, produced by Wyclef Jean, will take place at London's Electric Cinema at 2pm on on Friday February 26. Jenni Falconer and Mica Paris will introduce the film, with celebs such as Martine McCutcheon, Status Quo, Duran Duran and Cerys Matthews set to attend. There will be a Q&A and talk after the film, as well as an auction. For tickets and to donate, go to www.justgiving.com/haitiscreening. For more on the charity's work, go to www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk
Anyone who may have been watching Sky recently (and don't pretend you're not hooked on its assorted guilty pleasures such as 24 and Lost or the new series of The Simpsons), can't have failed to have seen its promotional activity for the Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg produced The Pacific, which is effectively being touted as Band Of Brothers II. The series will air in the spring ahead of a DVD release sometime later in the year. Band Of Brothers has been one of the DVD success stories of the past decade, notching up sales of 1.8 million units. HBO's Ian Fullerton said: "Band Of Brothers has been such a success for HBO so we’re thrilled to be launching The Pacific, which is very much a companion piece. Based on the true stories of marines in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, the production values of the mini-series are astounding and the emotional content hard-hitting. I honestly think viewers will be awestruck by the sheer scale and spectacle of the series."
Authoring and digital media expert Brickbox has continued its ambitious pan-European growth plan after snapping up Hungarian service provider Media Vision. The move adds another European location for the company, adding to its offices in London, Warsaw, Bratislava and Prague.
On the move... Green Umbrella Media has confirmed that industry veteran Andy Palmer, most recently at ILC, has been appointed as sales director with responsibility for DVD and audio sales. He will join other familiar industry faces Jules Gammond and Alan Jones in a busy year for the company, which has a slew of World Cup-related titles on the way. Meanwhile, on the retail side, Jason Mather has been appointed to the newly-created role of head of product marketing at play.com. The former Warner staffer has been at the retailer since crossing the divide last year. Play.com marketing director Martin Talbot said: "These are incredibly exciting times for Play.com in an ever-changing marketplace. We are therefore delighted to have someone of Jason's calibre and specific experience in home entertainment and video to help us shape our product offer for the future."
Also on the move: Lionsgate is set to move a few doors down the road into newly refurbished offices next week. The company's new address will be Second floor, 60 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NU. All other details will remain the same.
More on Icon's forthcoming Paranormal Activity and we couldn't resist this one... It appears as if the Italian theatrical release of the film has caused something of an uproar. The much talked about supernatural shocker is a 15 certificate over here (as it will be for its March 22 DVD release), and an R rating in the US, but censors in Italy passed it for universal exhibition. Cue scores of terrified youngsters, many of whom were treated in hospital. Its opening Saturday saw emergency services receiving scores of calls from people who were suffering panic attacks after seeing the film. One 14-year-old girl was rushed to hospital in "a state of paralysis". Parents groups, and one government minister, even said the trailer and TV spots were far too scary' authorities are now considering its certification.
This week's tenuous Avatar link (in which we look at the latest way that newspapers or magazines, or any organisation for that matter, tries to shoehorn in a reference to the highest grossing film ever in a desperate bid to appear "with it"...) This week the award goes to Palestinian and Israeli protesters in the West Bank, who dressed up as characters from the film to highlight their plight. Not wishing, of course, to trivialise their problems, of course, but, er, hang on, didn't they just do that?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"If you don't accept our terms, we will never play your movies again." A Dutch exhibitor sends out a stark warning to Disney over shortening the theatrical to DVD window.
RELEASE OF THE WEEK
We were quite taken with anime specialist MVM's Sinking Of Japan, which plopped on to our doormat this week. Billed as "2010 meets Tidal Wave", this epic disaster flick represents the independent's third, but biggest foray into the world of live action films and is slated for a March 8 release. MVM's Tony Allen said: "MVM recently moved from its previous dedication to anime into Asian cinema. Although our first releases in this genre were cult titles, we are very excited about the forthcoming release of Sinking Of Japan which is our biggest release so far, being a bonafide big budget movie that already has an international reputation."
AT THE MOVIES
Avatar was knocked off the perch at the top of the UK box office by Valentine's Day, which earned a timely £3,700,000 at cinemas. Avatar still took another £3 million plus to take its haul past the £77 million barrier. Other notable new entries included The Wolfman (£2,367,849), Percy Jackson (£1.5 million), My Name Is Khan (just under £1 million) and Icon's A Single Man (£502,009).
So, with only four books published thus far, and three movies in the can, how are producers at Summit (who have an ongoing deal with E1 Entertainment), going to extend the life of the hugely successful Twilight franchise? Simple, they're taking the Harry Potter route and spinning two movies out from one book. The final Twilight book, Breaking Dawn, is a mammoth 700 page opus, so, like the forthcoming Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, it will be broken down into two films, giving it two bites of the cherry at cinemas and on DVD. Like the second and third films in the Twilight saga, New Moon (due in March on DVD) and this summer's theatrical release, Eclipse, the two will be filmed back to back.
How Hollywood works (part 1 in an occasional series): Studios are said to be lining up outside the offices of hedge fund Pacificor to bid for the rights to make the next film in the Terminator franchise. Despite having no production experience, the hedge fund acquired the rights to the franchise, which includes all future sequels, for almost $30 million last week. Now it is looking for a partner to make the next film in the series, which has earned some $3 billion in revenues over the past 25 or so years.
It's the ultimate geek, fanboy film: Joss Whedon, the revered creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, among others, is said to be teaming up with Morgan Spurlock, of Supersize Me fame, to make a film about, er, geeks and fanboys. The duo are said to be looking for three uber-geeks to follow around in the run up to geekfest Comic-Con. We're wondering how many times they will say the word "geek" in the film – that's the fourth time we've said it in one paragraph and frankly, we're tiring of it already.
EVENT OF THE WEEK
As well as basking in the glory (well, some lovely emails) following our launch last week, we at The Raygun spent the weekend playing on the wonderful We sing on the Wii, released by Nordic Games and provided by our pals at Premier PR. We also took a trip to the HMV Curzon cinema in Wimbledon to have a closer look at the operation there, taking in Where The Wild Things Are along the way. For more on our trip, see our website www.theraygun.co.uk next week
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
You've read the book, now here comes the film...
Your kids have read the book, now here comes the film...
Ed Norton meets, er, Ed Norton...
Russell Brand reprises his breakthrough Hollywood role...
OUT NEXT WEEK ON DVD (February 22 2010)
9 (Universal) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Agnes Varda Collection (Artificial Eye)
American Hot Babes (Metrodome)
American Son (Momentum)
Angels V Demons Da Vinci Code (Demand DVD)
The Beaches Of Agnes (Artificial Eye)
Cabin Fever (Lionsgate) (Blu-ray)
Cabin Fever 2 (Lionsgate)
Callan The Monochrome Years (Network)
City Girl (Eureka) (Blu-ray)
A Closed Book (Centurion/Elevation)
Cold Sweat (Optimum)
Copying Beethoven (Verve Pictures) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Crazies (Anchor Bay)
Dark Days In Monkey City (Demand DVD)
Dark Fellowships (Demand DVD)
Day Of The Triffids (Showbox) (Blu-ray)
The Dead Outside (Scanbox)
D-Gray Man (Manga)
The Disappeared (Soda)
The Doombolt Chase (Network)
The Downfall Of Berlin (Metrodome) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Universal)
Fencing Master (Yume)
The Fool Of The World And The Flying Ship (Revelation)
The Goods: Live Hard! Sell Hard! (Pathe)
Grindstone Road (Scanbox)
How The Earth Made Us (2entertain) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Human Contract (High fliers)
Ice Castles (SPHE)
Ice Patrol (Demand DVD)
Interceptor (Optimum) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Jennifer’s Body (Fox) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Je Veux Voir (Soda)
Just Like The Son (Bounty/Eureka)
Katalin Varga (Artificial Eye)
LA Ink Series 2 (Revelation)
Law And Order Series 2 (Universal)
Little Einsteins Go To America (WDSHE)
Look Back On 70s Telly (Network)
M (Eureka) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Material Girl Series 1 (Universal)
Michael Jackson’s This Is It (SPHE)
Most Haunted A Living Hell On Earth (Universal)
Nazis The Occult Conspiracy (Demand DVD)
Nazis UFO Conspiracy (Demand DVD)
NBA Kevin Garnett (Clear Vision)
NBA Larry Bird A Basketball Legend (Clear Vision)
Only When I Dance (Revolver)
The Prince And The Pauper (Optimum)
Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey (2entertain)
Rob Zombie Presents The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto (Anchor Bay) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Seven Days To Noon (Optimum)
Shinjuku Incident (Showbox) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Sons Of Anarchy Season 1 (Fox)
The Spell (Kaleidoscope)
Strength And Honour (E1 Entertainment) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Two Ronnies Series 6 (2entertain)
The Unit Season 4 (Fox)
Wings Of Desire (Axiom (Blu-ray)
Without A Trace (Warner)
Wizards Of Waverly Place: The Movie (WDSHE)
OUT THE FOLLOWING WEEK ON DVD (March 1 2010)
After School (Network)
The Constant Husband (Optimum)
Dead Man Running (Revolver)
Emmanuelle (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
European Railway Journeys (six titles) (Demand DVD)
Fantastic Four 1978 Complete Series (Marvel)
The Fantastic Mr Fox (Fox) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Funny Games (Kaleidoscope) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Horsemen (Kaleidoscope) (DVD and Blu-ray)
An Inspector Calls (Optimum)
Jacob’s Ladder (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
Le Shuttle (Demand DVD)
K2 A Cry From The Top Of The World (Demand DVD)
Made In Scotland (Demand DVD)
Miss Mrch (Fox)
Nissan Sports Adventure (Demand DVD)
Nurse Jacket (Lionsgate)
Original Spider-Man Season 3 Volume 1 (Marvel)
The Pot Carriers (Optimum)
The Rainbow Jacket (Optimum)
Sesame Street, 40 Years Of Sunny Days (Abbey Home Media)
Seventh Moon (DNC)
Story Of Margaret Thatcher (Demand DVD)
Tower Of London (Optimum)
Triangle (Icon) (DVD and Blu-ray)
OUT THIS WEEK AT CINEMAS
Celine: Through The Eyes Of The World (Sony)
A Closed Book (Eyeline/Atlantic)
Crazy Heart (Fox)
The Headless Woman (New Wave)
The Last Station (Optimum)
The Lovely Bones (Paramount)
Solomon Kane (Entertainment)
The Unloved (ICA)
OUT NEXT WEEK AT CINEMAS
Capitalism A Love Story (Paramount)
The Crazies (Paramount/Momentum)
Everybody's Fine (Disney)
Extraordinary Measures (Sony)
From Paris With Love (Warner)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Park Circus)
Karthik Calling Karthik (Eros)
Leap Year (Optimum)
She. A Chinese (Optimum)
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