It Was A Bad Week For… Revolver's creditors, all five pages' worth of them…
In case you hadn’t noticed the barrage of marketing in stores and online, it’s Father’s Day on Sunday (June 16) and the market itself is reaping the rewards with the seasonal uptick around this, the last of the gifting opportunities this year outside of Q4. Leading the way are the trio of titles we talked about on last week’s bulletin, namely Fox’s Lincoln and A Good Day To Die Hard, as well as Universal’s Zero Dark Thirty. There’s also plenty of catalogue-based activity too. The BVA this week unveiled its own research which suggested that Father’s Day was worth incremental sales of 5.7 million units over the past decade, making it worth more than £50 million over those 10 years. Sales in the run-up to Sunday rise by an average of 20 per cent. As the BVA’s Lavinia Carey said: “Gifting for Father’s Day is always a big driver of video sales. Whether its comedy, action movies or sci-fi, there is something out there for every Dad and whilst digital sales are increasing, they can’t match the appeal of DVDs and Blu-ray discs as a very personal present.”
Meanwhile this week’s titles were off to a strong start. The Fox duo had both started off brightly, as the studio’s Ryan Virgo said: “Both A Good Day To Die Hard and Lincoln are dominating the new release and the all-important gifting landscape this week. Both titles are performing in-line with our 'dominating Father's Day' ambition. A considerable consumer marketing and retail drive across the Father's Day weekend will ensure A Good Day To Die Hard and Lincoln are front of consumers minds and the all-important impulse gifting opportunity is fully maximised."
Talking of Fox, we’ve been speaking to assorted retailers about last week’s story concerning the major’s plans for Q4 and its statement of intent to own November 18. Here’s Morrison’s John Wilson on Fox’s plans: “We're really looking forward to working with Fox on their Q4 this year. With The Wolverine and The Croods both on the November 18 this should provide a real kick start to Q4 for the industry. Of course both releases also provide a great opportunity to slipstream X-Men and Dreamworks’ catalogue product around the same time.”
eOne’s recent acquisition of Momentum has now seen the two companies successfully merged together and, as we’ve noted here recently, the new-look eOne has got off to a flying start both in home entertainment and theatrical terms. And now the ever-growing distributor is looking at a mammoth slate going forwards. The Raygun has now seen its Q3 line-up in full after visiting the company’s West End offices and the slate for not just the next quarter, but the next year is bulging to say the least. And eOne is planning to continue with what the two separate companies became well known for – investing in marketing to push sales even further. As the company’s head of marketing Matt Brightwell said: “We’re going to be adventurous and brave with our titles. We don’t just want to put these titles in the market and hope they sell. We want to drive sales by innovative marketing and investing at the store level and in packaging.”
So what of the titles? Well, July alone is a huge month, with the Steven Soderbergh thriller Side Effects; Safe Haven, from the team behind the Momentum hit Dear John; recent Sunday night period drama hit The Village; the critically acclaimed Robot * Frank; more CSI Vegas, now with Ted Danson at the helm; Viking adventure Escape; Jason Statham alongside J-Lo in Parker; more homegrown action in Welcome To The Punch and world cinema crossover In The House. August sees All Stars, from the team behind the likes of Street Dance; sci-fi horror Dark Skies and World War I drama Forbidden Ground. September’s titles see Hangover-style hi-jinks in 21 And Over; the third season of the ever-popular The Walking Dead; the latest in Matthew McConaughey’s comeback trail, Mud; the third series of Haven; homegrown real-life tale UWantMe2KillHim?’ Colin Farrell in Dead Man Down; the high profile theatrical title Populaire; the excellent The Rise (one of the best films we’ve seen this year) and Frankenstein’s Army.
One of the most intriguing titles in eOne’s Q3 slate is Hammer Of The Gods, due in September. Why? Well, it’s one that eOne’s UK arm, especially its home entertainment division, has been closely involved with since day one. Produced by its frequent partner Vertigo, eOne has had input on every step of the way, from the subject matter and script through to marketing elements. It has effectively been built as a title suitable for platform theatrical and then home entertainment release. It’ll be well worth keeping an eye on as it takes the DTV and platform release market on to another level and again illustrates the potential rewards still available in this sector. As eOne’s Matt Brightwell said: “It will go out on six to 15 prints and we're working on a campaign together. We're really excited about it." More on this in the coming weeks and there’s a full round up of the company’s Q3 on our website now…
Another week and another raft of activity in terms of screenings, premieres and the likes, let’s run through this week’s goings on in chronological order… Both Monday and Tuesday saw Metrodome hosting not one but two high profile premieres for its next big theatrical release, Summer In February. Stars Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens were all present and correct, along with such luminaries as Stephen Fry and Claire Balding, while Stevens and Cooper were both out and about being interviewed on TV (Daybreak, BBC Breakfast, This Morning, The Andrew Marr Show, The One Show, Graham Norton) and numerous press and radio interviews too. As Metrodome’s Jezz Vernon said: “We’ve enjoyed working on the film immensely and have been delighted at the audience reaction– with a scheduled October release date for home entertainment we’re delighted to be delivering the 10m fans of Downtown a final Dan Stevens period treat.”
Wednesday night saw arguably the highest profile event, the European premiere for Warner’s summer tentpole theatrical release Man Of Steel, which is almost certain to be one of the Q4 biggies. The verdict? Well, retailers we’ve spoken to subsequently were bowled over by the DC Comics adaptation. Henry Cavill, in particular, was cited as being a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve as the titular hero.
On to Thursday, which saw eOne hosting a screening for its current theatrical hit Behind The Candelabra. A made-for-TV production which aired on HBO in the US, but has benefited from a theatrical release over here, thanks to the company’s belief in its potential, one which could be rewarded with a theatrical haul in excess of £3 million. Better still, its small screen roots and its big name involvement – Michael Douglas and Matt Damon star, Steven Soderbergh directs – makes it ideal for home entertainment releases.
London’s Prince Charles Cinema saw another entrant join the streaming sector launch this week, although The Horror Show has its own unique selling point. As its name suggests, the service is devoted entirely to genre-related titles. The service has been in Beta test mode for several months, and officially went live today, preceded by a special launch event at London's Prince Charles Cinema, where The League of Gentleman's Reece Shearsmith introduced a special screening of award-winning short film Him Indoors (available on TheHorrorShow.TV as part of its feature-length "Short Stack" offering), while horror luminary Kim Newman introduced a screening of Donald Cammell's classic White of the Eye (1987), as yet unavailable in the UK on home formats. The service, which is privately funded, will follow up its launch with a marketing push at FrightFest and across major UK press, websites and blogs. "We already know that VOD is the future," said David Hughes, one of the co-founders (with former president of 20th Century Fox Onternational Stephen Moore), "but no matter how much product is carried by VOD platforms, there's nothing in the marketplace appealing directly to the enormous horror market. Created for horror fans, and curated by horror fans, we hope to satiate the huge appetite that's out there for horror product, with a mixture of previously-undistributed UK exclusives, new releases and catalogue titles." For more on The Horror Show, including a look at its top 10 titles, on our website…
Also on our website: a close look at eOne's mammoth Q3, the bestselling Father's Day titles and our regular round-ups of press coverage and our own home viewing… Go to www.theraygun.co.uk
Arguably the biggest TV event over the past seven days has been the transmission of the final episode of the current season (or series, as many would prefer) of Game Of Thrones. The finale, and the previous week’s penultimate shocking episode, have been all over the Internet, Twitter particularly and given the show a further massive boost. Along the way it’s broken all sorts of records: the finale was the most watched pay TV show in the UK, while it also has the dubious honour of being the most pirated single episode of a TV show ever. It was downloaded an estimated 1 million times from Torrent sites within the first 24 hours, which, as one Torrent-friendly news site said “figures no other TV show comes close to”. The site, TorrentFreak, concluded: “This could increase to more than five million during the weeks to come and means that unless a miracle happens, Game of Thrones will be crowned the most pirated TV show of the year once again.”
But as many point out, the levels of piracy have done nothing to harm the home entertainment potential of the series, either digital or physical. And blinkbox this week unveiled a major coup after announcing that the third series of the programme will appear exclusively on its service from July 15. Not only that, but the third series is also available to buy from the Tesco-owned digital retailer in high definition. It will be available for streaming both as single episodes or an entire season. Blinkbox ceo Michael Comish said: “Game of Thrones is the TV show of the moment and we expect demand for the third series to be high. Whether you have heard about the series recently thanks to the buzz around season 3 or have enjoyed the first two episodes but don’t have a Sky subscription, blinkbox is the place to enjoy this gripping series.” Colin Smith, director, international digital distribution for HBO added: “We are thrilled to offer Game of Thrones season 3 via blinkbox for those in the UK who haven’t had the opportunity to see it.”
Sticking with Game Of Thrones, there’s no word yet on the physical release, but it’s certain to be another biggie. As HBO’s Sophie Knight told The Raygun: “Game of Thrones seems to be exploding and breaking records in more areas. The Season 3 finale this week has taken the title as the highest rated TV programme on a Sky channel ever which is fantastic news for the franchise. The 'Red Wedding' certainly caused a ruckus and there has been a serious amount of noise surrounding the latest season broadcast. We're really excited to see how the EST release performs on blinkbox come July and looking further ahead to the Blu-ray and DVD releases. Watch this space."
This week’s big terrestrial TV bow, certainly from where we were sat on our sofa, was The Returned. It looks like Universal will be releasing the French TV hit that aired on Channel 4 on Sunday night and pulled in some 1.5 million viewers. And Arrow can get in on the act too, as it will be releasing the French film that inspired the TV series, originally titled Les Revenants, but now given the same English title. As Arrow’s Jon Sadler said: “There is bound to be massive curiosity around the film that the series was inspired by, so we are expecting good retail support and sales.”
Administrator ReSolve has published its first report into Revolver Entertainment, one of this year’s highest profile company failures, especially on the distribution side of the business. We’ve got hold of a copy of the report and it makes for some pretty grim reading. The list of creditors alone runs to some five pages – much of it small print too. It reads, at times, like a who’s who of agencies and suppliers within the industry. The debts tot up to more than £7 million, although ReSolve has admitted there could be further monies owed on top of this. The biggest sums are owed to bank Coutts and HMRC. The company’s woes are blamed on the Sony DADC fire and this year’s problems at HMV and Blockbuster. It looks likely that the company will be dissolved, with little prospect of any money being paid to its unsecured creditors. Among some of the more enlightening parts of the report are various references to office equipment listed as fixed assets which the administrator has been unable to track down. There’s also reference to a motor vehicle which can’t be found as well as an outstanding sum of £400,000 owed by a restaurant. The administrators will continue with their work, trying to unravel the monies owed and sums due, as well as resolving ongoing disputes both with Sony DADC and the company’s insurers, the latter over failure to get cover for business being interrupted. They’re also chasing a statement of affairs from Revolver chief Justin Marciano. More on this in the coming weeks…
One of the more bizarre aspects of the Revolver case surfaced this week in a story that appeared on film website Screen Daily. It saw Michael Coleman, actor turned financier, being found not guilty of harassment at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court. He had been accused of sending abusive messages to Justin Marciano and Revolver staff in a dispute over money owed…
One positive to come out of the whole saga is the way Revolver’s award-winning staff are shaking off the troubles of the past six months and sorting themselves out with new jobs and opportunities. The old staffers reconvened in a London hostelry last week, it’s good to hear that many are now sorting themselves out with new jobs, all while awaiting their statutory redundancy payments from the company. As Tom Clark, formerly in marketing, now at agency Coffee & Cigarettes told The Raygun: "It's really good to see all the old Revolver guys finding their feet after such a turbulent time. We've always been a close team and it was that family feeling that once made it so much fun to work there. Everyone's still very much in touch and we see each other regularly for a drink and catch-up on the gossip."
More Revolver staff news now and former staffers haven’t just been thinking about their own futures, they’ve been doing good for others too. Take former marketing director Kate Walker, who was previously at Fox and ITV. She’s now ensconced at Base79 as head of marketing, but recently went off to Sierra Leone for a fundraising marathon run with a bunch of others, including, as coincidence would have it, former trade press editor Jody Raynsford. Walker said: “I meant to run the half Marathon (like Mo Farah) but with all the excitement of traveling all the way to Sierra Leone I got carried away and joined the gang running 26.2 miles. It was overall an incredible day in aid of the charity Street Child, which works in Sierra Leone. The charity is a brilliant initiative and has given kids in this seriously poor country a much better start in life. Having seen it with my own eyes now I would urge everyone to donate even a little bit as the money goes right to kids and changes lives.” You can donate here
Acquisitions news now and the big story in this arena this week has been Anchor Bay’s announcement that it had snagged the UK and Australian rights to the next Danny Dyer film Vendetta, which is tipped to be something of a return to form for the Cockney star. The gritty Death Wish style feature is being produced by Jonathan Sothcott’s Richwater films, with a theatrical release for the UK slated for the autumn, with DVD to follow. Sothcott said: “Vendetta is a very important film for me and finding the right domestic home for it was paramount. It is easy for good movies to get lost in the sea of DTV dross but I know that Rod and all at Anchor Bay realise that they have something special here -- a high quality action thriller that really delivers.” Anchor Bay’s Rod Smith added: “Danny Dyer and Jonathan Sothcott have a success record second-to- none in the UK home entertainment industry. Their films have sold millions of DVDs and this will be up there with the best of them. This film is Danny Dyer’s best performance since The Business and it is Jonathan Sothcott’s best film to date. It is a real coup to land it for Anchor Bay. Sothcott understands British Cinema better than anyone I know and it is a pleasure to be collaborating with him on this. I genuinely believe this will kick start a new successful chapter in Danny Dyer’s career and take him to even higher levels.”
More acquisitions news now and Metrodome has unveiled a whole raft of acquisitions following the Cannes film festival. The massive slate includes – deep breath here – Wish You Were Here, starring Joel Edgerton and Teresa ~Palmer in a film about a holiday to Cambodia gone wrong; Spanish sci-fi horror The Last Days; Hyena, a thriller about corrupt London cops and Albanian gangsters starring, among others, Neil Maskell; Lukas Moodysson’s We Are The Best’ Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz; The Strange Colour Of Your Body’s Tears, from the team behind Amer; John Malkovich starring in Siberian Education and Big Bad Wolves (see below for more on huts). All the above titles are for theatrical and DVD, while the company has also picked up a draft of horror films for the DTV market, including Sin, with Ron Jeremy, Wax, Nailbiter, The Unidentified and Hatchet 3…
Before all those, Metrodome already has a busy slate, with July 1 bringing the release of one of our favourite films of the year, Maniac, the slasher remake starring Elijah Wood. As Metrodome’s Rebecca Johnson said: “We’re really looking forward to Maniac’s release on DVD and Blu-ray on July 1. We’ve had a very successful press campaign, with coverage across Guardian, Empire, Total Film and a great response across horror press, as well as a strong online campaign and great artwork and trailer, which has really bolstered support for the release.”
Back to acquisitions now and Delta has scored something of a coup in picking the next drama featuring Olivia Colman, who dominated at this year’s BAFTAs and has already starred in one of 2013’s most-talked about programmes, Broadchurch. The Channel 4 series will be released on July 8. Delta’s director of product and marketing said: “We are delighted to have acquired this title to add to our portfolio. Run makes compelling viewing and the cast turn in some remarkable performances. It is fascinating to see how the threads of the stories come together.” Delta has already started its marketing campaign via viral activity.
An update on the recent MCM event over at the Excel centre in east London. As revealed on last week’s newsletter, the show had a record attendance of more than 76,000. Following last week’s comments on successful activity around the three day event for fans of films, comic books and Japanese anime from attendees such as Manga and Anchor Bay, organisers have this week confirmed that the show will grow from 25,000 square metres to 34,000 square metres when it returns in October. MCM joint md Bryan Cooney said: “Growing the show's footprint will not only allow us to provide additional exhibitor space, but will also enable us to expand our Main Theatre so even more visitors get to enjoy the latest movies from the UK's biggest distributors, as well as cast and crew presentations."
Talking of shows, we’re off now, but we’ll be attending Arrow’s Nordicana show, a celebration of its Nordic Noir imprint and all things Scandinavian, taking in food and drink as well as plenty of screenings of films and TV programmes centred on Nordic Noir output, with associated guest appearances and Q&A sessions. Commenting on the eve of the event, Arrow’s Jon Sadler said: “Nordicana has been a massive project for us but we have managed to put together a great programme and with more than 10 TV cast members plus writers and authors it’s a great representation of the genre plus the additional food, drink and free kids’ activities should make it a great day out for everyone.” It’s on Saturday and Sunday in Farringdon (more details here), we’ll see you there…
QUOTE(S) OF THE WEEK
“There’s eventually going to be a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen of these mega-budgeted movies go crashing into the ground and that’s going to change the paradigm again.”
“You’re going to end up with fewer theaters, bigger theaters with a lot of nice things. Going to the movies will cost 50 bucks or 100 or 150 bucks, like what Broadway costs today, or a football game. It’ll be an expensive thing. … (The movies) will sit in the theaters for a year, like a Broadway show does. That will be called the ‘movie’ business. There’ll be big movies on a big screen, and it’ll cost them a lot of money. Everything else will be on a small screen. It’s almost that way now. Lincoln and ‘Red Tails’ barely got into theatres. You’re talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can’t get their movies into theaters. What used to be the movie business, in which I include television and movies … will be Internet television. “The question will be: Do you want people to see it, or do you want people to see it on a big screen?”
The pals were speaking on a panel together on the future of the industry…
AT THE MOVIES
Despite not entirely winning over reviewers, After Earth, the Will Smith starrer directed by M Night Shyamalan opened atop the UK box office with some £2.25 million in receipts. Other new entries were Behind The Candelabra (more than £500,000), Stone Roses pic Made Of Stone (at £367,319 Shane Meadows’ biggest opening film ever) and The Iceman, with a touch over £200,000.
It’s a key announcement for horror aficionados everywhere and Film4 FrightFest, the UK’s finest horror film festival, has this week unveiled its headline films. The festival, due to take place at the Empire between August 22 and 26, has announced its opening and closing pictures. The festival will open with the as—yet-unsigned zombie sequel The Dead 2. Its predecessor was shot in Africa, this is the first undead film to be made in India. The festival’s closing film will be Big Bad Wolves, the latest from Rabies helmers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. FrightFest’s Alan Jones said: “Both [films] represent everything FrightFest is about; the discovery, nurturing and celebration of vital new voices in the genre. These films bookend Film4 FrightFest perfectly and hint at what we are trying to achieve this year – the best platform to deliver our broadest, most diverse and most surprising event ever.”
Good to see another homegrown production outfit with a hefty release slate, as Intandem announced it had secured a further £1.8 million in finds. It has unveiled a slate of nine films, with four of them, comedy thriller Killing Hasselhoff, sci-fi love stories Starbright and Second Origin and psychological thriller Isolated all completely funded.
SITE OF THE WEEK
We liked this newly-launched website for one of our favourite films of the year thus far, A Field In England, here it is: http://www.afieldinengland.com
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Good to see scores of HMV stores up and running on Twitter now and we’re speaking to them all regularly… Follow us on www.twitter.com/theraygun
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
Not quite a trailer, but a clip from our current favourite comedy, Portlandia, due from Mediumrare via Fremantle on June 24…
From Signature, this is The Assassination…
Also from Signature, Rise Of The Shadow Warrior…
We’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve watched this this week. “I am siege face.”
Anyone heard of this? The Hobbit something or other?
Hot Red Band action…
The Wolverine full trailer…
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