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It Was A Good Week For... Creed's ahead on points…
It Was A Bad Week For… Kids today – 11 to 15-year-olds are accessing more illegal content online…

Seconds out round three, and at the midway stage during its first week, Rocky spin-off Creed was ahead on points according to the judges at the Official Charts Company, notching up sales of 36,000 during its first few days on release. It came on the back of a boxing friendly marketing campaign from Warner – a screening at the Muhammad Ali exhibition at the O2 complex ahead of release for the boxing community, assorted journalists and social media types gave the title a fighting chance ahead of release, while further work with England Boxing on a mobile arena touring London also helped. British boxer Tony Bellew, who appears in the film, got involved too, taking part in a signing at HMV Liverpool One, as well as a Twitter Q&A and a video interview with the Lad Bible. More pugilistic support came from Team GB fighter Sam Maxwell, director Ryan Coogler spoke to Empire and Shortlist magazine took part in a “scientific” screening looking at the film’s motivational impact. Point of sale carried the film’s stars and stripes look into stores, while TV spots were booked around key sports events. Press and magazine and social media advertising rounded off the campaign. Warner senior marketing manager for film Luisa Cotrozzi said: ““After a PR and marketing campaign that really has gone the full 12 rounds, we are all extremely excited to be the contender for the number one spot next week.”
More from the Official Charts Company’s midweek charts, with as mentioned above, Creed dislodging The Hateful Eight from the top slot, with the Quentin Tarantino film sandwiched between the boxing flick and another new entry, The Danish Girl. It’s a good week for 101 Films, its I Am Wrath, featured here a few weeks ago, is in at number six. Sainsbury’s perfect partner-style promotion on The Theory Of Everything alongside the aforementioned Danish Girl, helps propel the other Eddie Redmayne starrer back to number 19. Other new entries include Last Of The Summer Wine at 20, Orange Is The New Black at number 26 and Mojave at number 31. 

One notable new entry in the midweeks and performing well is Battle For Sevastopol, a Russian war drama that has made a showing at number 23, even though, as Arrow Films said, it hasn’t full distribution. As Arrow’s Jon Sadler said: “Despite not getting full distribution and as a foreign language title it’s going to post a great week one. That figure will easily put it among the top 20 DTV titles released so far this year. We spent a lot of time getting the sleeve just right and also selecting a good date for the released and both endeavours have paid off. The true story element is also quite compelling and we have also reached out to Russians and Ukrainians in the UK via a targeted Facebook ad campaign in order to secure the local domestic audience.”
Meanwhile, sticking with Arrow, this week saw the debut of the second series of the greatest show you’ve never heard of, Gomorrah, on Sky Atlantic and, given the weight of social media comment posted with evangelical zeal by its devotees, it looks like it cold be the season that sees it finally break through. Arrow’s Jon Sadler firmly believes it could get to the level of some of HBO’s finest. He said: “Gomorrah is surely the best TV series that the fewest people have seen in the UK. On it currently has 101 five-star reviews out of a possible 111 (and six of those are four- star) and if a greater audience score for a series exists I am yet to find it! Ricky Gervais is a fan and he’s tweeted about it, calling it 'the series of the decade' and we have some other high profile champions as well, but it’s surely just a matter of time until this gets the level of followers of say, The Wire or True Detective. We are releasing the series digitally immediately after its series finale on June 19 and the DVD and Blu-ray box sets and double pack editions will follow on July 25. This is a typical tweet from a fan: ‘Loving @GomorrahSeries season 2, quite simply the best program on TV’.”
Congratulations to Kaleidoscope, which, on the back of its recent success with IP Man 3, helping martial arts return to the upper echelons of the charts, last week saw its most successful chart performance ever, with a septet of titles in the top 200. The figure included its own and distributed labels too and, as the company's Lee Symonds said: “We are excited to see a positive growth in the home entertainment industry, one in which Kaleidoscope is no exception: exhibiting for the first time seven consecutive titles in the top 200 chart. As IP Man 3 continues to sell, we predict a good life cycle for the film and trilogy over the coming months. This is great news for a strong franchise, not to mention the genre, as we expect more to come in the forthcoming quarters. WW2 dramas also continue to over-perform, with titles such as Prisoner of War, from writer Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), which features a notable cast (Jeff Goldblum, William Defoe). Occasionally we see surprises with titles such as, Sinkhole and Flight 1942, which have both over performed against expectations. These have achieved very healthy sales retrospectively, proving that consumers still enjoy low cost and fun bargain. We expect to see more successes in the next quarter with titles such as Suburra and Tank 432, and we look forward to future surprises the market has in store.”
As well as its own UK titles and distributed labels, Kaleidoscope is also seeing its worldwide sales operation going for strength to strength too, enjoying a successful time at the Cannes film market this week, looking after a number of titles. These included The Land Of Sometimes, featuring big name talent from the likes of David Walliams and more; Creation Stories, based on the life of record label supremo Alan McGee, penned by none other than Irvine Welsh, Le Mans 3D, Tank 432, executive produced by Ben Wheatley, and The Windmill Massacre. Topping off the line up was Bobby, due from eOne in the UK. Land Of Sometimes, Tank 432 and The Windmill Massacre are all due from the company’s own imprint in the UK. Here's the company's Spencer Pollard on its time on the Croisette: "Cannes was quiet on the acquisitions front so we were very happy with our sales activities. Completed films sold well and films in production and pre production stages attracted a lot of interest and we look forward to bringing them to market soon. Next week we are very excited by the release of Top Cat Begins in the UK with our friends at Warner Bros who have put together an amazing release plan and showed the value of working with a major studio on a major release.”

Dateline: Cannes (again). One of the most talked about films in the assorted screening rooms, bars (we're guessing definitely in the Petit Carlton), exhibition floor and in the press, with a raft of five star reviews, was Personal Shopper. The Olivier Assayas film also saw star Kristen Stewart being hailed as the Queen of Cannes, and Metrodome has picked up the title for UK release, giving its as yet up scheduled title a strong start for its release later this year. Commenting on the acquisition, the ever erudite Giles Edward from the independent said: “With Personal Shopper Assayas uses his immeasurable skill as a storyteller to conjure potent visions of Franju, Clouzot and Polanski at their creative zenith. He joins their ranks as one of cinema's most adroit and exhilarating talents."
More from Metrodome and more from Cannes, as the company unveiled another strong title in the shape of Frantz, a First World War drama from Francois Ozon, Starring Pierre Niney and Paula Beer, it follows a Frenchman who meets the fiancée of a German soldier who was killed in battle. Metrodome's Giles Edwards said: “Once again, Ozon has masterfully constructed a complex, elegant and deeply passionate portrait of the fragility of love and simple humanity. It's a profound honour to continue our collaboration with one of cinema's true virtuosos."
To the Odeon in Leicester Square for the premiere of the hugely high profile Icon theatrical release The Nice Guys, the Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe double header that has been wowing audiences in Cannes and now London ahead of the UK cinema release on June 3. The stars followed the rapturous response to their Cannes appearances with a similarly high profile presence in the capital. The film itself went down an absolute storm, a grown-up comedy that delivers big laughs and has big commercial appeal, especially on home entertainment formats, where its fantastic design elements will make for a fine looking physical release. Icon ceo Ian Dawson said "Great reviews, a fantastic audience response and Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe appearing at the London premiere have combined to give us the perfect lead into our June 3 theatrical launch for this superb Shane Black and Joel Silver creation.” It presages a busy time for the Icon team - May 20 sees another high profile theatrical bow (Hologram For A King), while Neon Demon, the next from Nicolas Winding Refn, has been one of most talked films at Cannes this week, and there's plenty on the home entertainment front too.

BASE, the organisation formerly known as the BVA, has got a new feature on its website, with the Future Release schedule providing an up to the minute guide to forthcoming titles up to and including three months ahead, taking in theatrical as well as all manner of home entertainment releases. A drop down functionality enables users to sort by format, release date, availability or alphabetically. You can find it here: Commenting on the initiative, BASE's Liz Bales said: "The BVA has always provided a central hub for release information packaged media formats. In keeping with our transition to BASE it was important that this be updated to reflect the multiple releases dates which can apply for certain titles. The upgraded service shows our distributor members supporting this data supply ensuring that as far as possible we now have dates across digital and physical releases.”
Sticking with BASE and more good news from the trade body, which has also this week unveiled a new initiative, in partnership with Creative Skillset Film Skills Fund, which will offer up a series of education events for people in the industry. The first of these, The Digital Video Opportunity, is due to take place on June 14 in Central London. Subtitled "driving growth in a multi-channel sector", and open to mid-level managers, the hands-on event will look at key issues facing the industry, such as "simplifying format messaging, driving catalogue through digital and maintaining energy and excitement in store and online". It will feature a number of speakers from outside the industry who have experienced similar problems to ours, or have further insight into issues. It's free to BVA members and limited places, at £500 a pop, are also available to non-members. Commenting on the event, BASE's Liz Bales said: "said; “With support from Creative Skillset Film Skills Fund, we are aiming to better equip the industry’s most talented young marketers and executives with the skills they need to deliver a bright and sustainable future for screen entertainment.  These education sessions are a bold statement of our intention for the future of the industry and our support of the fantastic creative caliber that exists within the category.  We can’t wait to see the results that come out of these sessions and how they help shape the future of our industry.” For more detailers contact 
In her other role as chief executive of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, Liz Bales will, on Tuesday May 24, be heading to the CREATe Industry Copyright Education & Awareness Symposium and was due to reveal some of the its ongoing campaign tracker details, looking at the state of copyright infringement, attitudes towards piracy and the effects of its ongoing Moments Worth Paying For marketing. The research, put together with ICM, shows that levels of piracy of film and TV products are relatively static, with 23 per cent of those questioned having accessed illegal content in the last year. While that may be good news, there are some worrying trends: younger people aged between 11 and 15 years old are now more likely to look for illegal content. The reasons for seeking out illegal downloads and streaming online are the same as ever: ease, price and the belief there’s nothing wrong with it are the three main reasons, while the reasons for seeking out paid for content are similarly much the same as ever – the big screen experience, better quality and a shared experience were all cited. Perhaps the most encouraging news highlighted the effects of the Moments Worth Paying For campaign – almost half of the key 16 to 34 year old male audience, still the biggest consumers of illegal content, recognised the campaign and its tagline, while a quarter also knew about the associated site.
Comment on those figures came from Industry Trust chief executive Liz Bales who said: “We have been providing industry leading consumer insights on what motivates people to infringe copyright for the past ten years. In order to create copyright educations campaigns that actually change behaviour, we have to see things through the eye of the consumer and providing compelling evidence and research is key to this. Consumers are accessing more content across all formats than ever before showing the value they place on film and TV content. Some people are duped into using pirate sites due to confusion over what is and isn’t legal, while others intentionally set out to access unauthorised content. Infringers are still huge film and TV fans, so it’s incredibly important we use education to encourage moderation of their behaviour, instead of alienating them by pointing the finger. Crucially as an industry we need to be continuously nudging and signposting all audiences towards sources of legal content as they migrate their viewing online.” ICM Unlimited research manager Laura Byrne said: “The Industry Trust puts insight and evidence at the heart of its decision-making, and since ICM came on board in 2011 we have kept a consistent measure of consumer behaviour and campaign effectiveness. During that time, recognition of the Moments Worth Paying For campaign has grown incrementally and has achieved significant cut through with the target audience, encouraging their growing uptake of paid-for authorised content.” More on this on our website shortly…

Some forthcoming title news now and Monday May 23 sees the release of Dirty Grandpa, which follows a revitalised and decidedly buff Zac Efron and and the titular gramps, Robert De Niro. It follows hot on the success of Efron’s similarly themed Bad Neighbours and, in keeping with this kind of raucous comedy, comes complete in an extended version SKU. Commenting on the release, Lionsgate’s Susie Bould said: “We are very excited about the release of the ultimate buddy comedy with a twist, Dirty Grandpa on May 23. The filthy, controversial and hilarious film demanded an attention grabbing campaign and from the bright stand out packaging, hilarious TV spots targeted to key channels like Comedy Central, to social activity across Instagram, Facebook And Twitter which really pushed the boundaries, the marketing campaign is just the right side of NSFW!  Keep your eyes peeled for hilarious and fresh content made with key influencers adding the cherry on the cake.”
Also on Monday comes something a bit meatier than even Efron’s six-pack, in the form of the awards-friendly The Big Short, out via Universal. It earned five Oscar nods, including Best Picture, before picking up the gong for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as earning some £6 million at UK cinemas. It boasts a bona fide A-list cast and comes wrapped in a gorgeous O-ring (glossy and metallic). The digital and print marketing campaign will, the major said, reach more than 2 million people, with further PR following a media trip taking press such as the Express and Metro to Wall Street. Commenting on the release, Universal’s Lucia Magadan said: “I have really enjoyed working on this film as it’s a clever and entertaining way to explain such a complex subject matter, and the cast doesn’t really get any better.”
The one take epic Berlin nightlife tale Victoria, one of the year’s finest – and highest box office earning – foreign language releases of 2016 also arrives on Monday The film earned critical and audience acclaim for its unique style and its home entertainment bow follows hot on the heels of its strong theatrical performance and similarly successful Curzon Home Cinema simultaneous release. Commenting on the physical bow, Curzon Artificial Eye’s Paul Diment said: “The one take masterpiece Victoria will be released on Monday off the back of a successful theatrical run, and will definitely benefit from the shorter than usual theatrical window. Our campaign began a few weeks ago with some long lead press ads, and will continue on Friday [May 19] with the DVD launch event at The House of Vans. Additional press and online activity will continue over the weekend and well into the week of release.”
In case you missed it, last week was the 30th anniversary of the release of Top Gun, which saw a burst of activity around the classic Tom Cruise starrer. The activity for the film, which still provokes fevered discussion, showed that the public’s, ahem, need for speed has not yet diminished. Commenting on the chat and more around the film, Paramount’s Barney Hands said: “"May 13 has evolved to be celebrated by fans worldwide as Top Gun Day and we were proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the worlds greatest action films of all-time by promoting the title across digital platforms alongside Universal home media with the 30th anniversary special-edition DVD and Blu-rays.”

Tickets are now available for the highlight of the 2016 footballing calendar, and were not referring to Millwall’s imminent Wembley appearance either, as Nordoff-Robbins has opened sales for the annual football fundraiser. The HMV-backed event has now been renamed Legends Of Football, and is this year marketing now in its 21st year, but also the 25th year of the Premier League. It takes place on October 5 2016 at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane, London. This year’s event will not only mark the Premier League’s anniversary nut also the exclusive 100 club, those players who’ve scored 100 goals in the top flight. One of those is Alan Shearer, who said: “I always look forward to this event, it’s a cracking night out and for a really good cause too.  It will also be good to catch up with some of the members of the “100 club” and discuss when we will host one for the 200 club.” HMV owner Hilco Capital has confirmed its sponsorship of the event will continue for a further three years in a statement issued with Legends Of Football chairman, and former HMV supremo, Brian McLaughlin. Hilco’s Paul McGowan said: “HMV helped found this event and we are proud to continue this remarkable partnership, which has done so much to support the vital work of Nordoff Robbins while also celebrating the shared passions that exist between football and music and entertainment.” McLaughlin added: “That the Legends of Football event has grown into one of the biggest and most enjoyable fundraisers in the calendar is due in large measure to the generosity of our footballing and entertainment communities.” For more ticket details and sponsorship opportunities, email 
Our pals are Obviously Creative, currently celebrating the agency’s 10th birthday, have unveiled a new face at the company, although it’s one that should be recognisable to many in the industry. For Obviously Creative has appointed Monica Chadha as a non-executive director. Commenting on the appointment, owner and founder Alex Carter said: “We are delighted that Monica is joining the board. She brings a vast amount of commercial knowledge and is a SuperConnector with strong business acumen. The provision of advice and support using her benefit of hindsight and insight will prove invaluable as we seek out new creative opportunities to drive the business forward.Monica Chadha added: "Having worked with Alex more than 10 years ago during the launch of DVD, I am delighted to be working together again. He has built an incredible business against a backdrop of industry change with boundless energy and real entrepreneurial flair."
Back to Cannes and a report released this week at the festival suggested that European Commission plans to create a Digital Single Market could see European audiences losing out, especially if territorial rights were eroded. The report was unveiled by consultancies Oxera and Oliver & Ohlbaum. The DSM proposals to do away with different territorial rights and allow consumers access to titles from different countries across Europe would damage film and TV production and lead to higher prices. It said territoriality should be maintained and the EC should rethink  its proposals. Comment came from the likes of PACT chief executive John McVay who said: “Today’s report underlines that the Commission’s plans will deliver the exact opposite of their stated intentions leaving audiences with a poorer range of content, higher prices and a devastating impact on cultural diversity both in production and distribution. It is vital that they urgently rethink their approach and work closely with industry and member state governments to ensure no changes are made that would end up leaving audiences worse off. We all want to develop a stronger digital economy for film and television. But the Commission must work with, not against the industry to deliver for audiences.” 
More comment on this important issue came from Anders Kjaerhauge, md of Zentropa who said: “The study clearly demonstrates that undermining the freedom to use territorial exclusivity to raise film financing and to organise the optimal film distribution across various platforms and markets would harm audiences. The result would be a drastic reduction in the range and quality of films produced and distributed for audiences to enjoy across Europe.” Michael Ryan, Partner at GFM Films, said: “Our focus is always on producing great content and delivering it in a way that audiences can enjoy. We are deeply concerned that the Commission’s proposals will totally undermine the environment that has facilitated a flourishing film / TV market that delivers for consumers. Today’s findings highlight just what is at stake.” Martin Moszkowicz, ceo of Constantin Film, said: “Filmmakers rely on the revenue generated from territorial exclusivity for film distribution. This report sends a clear warning to the European Commission that their ambitions for cross border access to content would do great damage to a key economic growth sector. The Commission is suggesting that we stop the idea of territorial sales just when the digital market is delivering sustainable models to deliver for audiences while successfully monetising content, allowing continued reinvestment in new production.”
It’s one of the most eagerly awaited Amazon Prime Video arrivals of 2016 and this week has seen the svod service announce its plans for comic book adaptation Preacher. The series, which boasts a hugely impressive roster of talent, both in front and behind the camera, including Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as producers, the UK’s own Dominic Cooper and Joseph Gilgun starring alongside Ruth Negga, currently wowing audiences in Cannes, will kick off on May 23 on the service, with the second episode arriving just after US transmission on June 6 and all subsequents episodes arriving on a Monday after they’ve aired in America. “Preacher is one of the most ambitious and highly-anticipated new series of the year, and exactly the kind of show we want to bring our Prime members around the world,” stated Brad Beale, Vice President of Worldwide Television Acquisition for Amazon. “Sitting alongside shows like The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Mr Robot, Fear The Walking Dead and the upcoming Clarkson, Hammond and May show, The Grand Tour, Preacher is another great addition to our line-up and we think our customers are going to love it.”

Those Angry Birds flew into the top 10 UK box office chart with a strong first weekend, taking £2.1 million in its opening frame, although not enough to dislodge Captain America: Civil War. Other new entries included Our Kind Of Traitor (£358,180), Everybody Wants Some!! (£169,764) and the excellent Green Room (£144,517). 
Our old pal, producer Jonathan Sothcott, whose worked on some of the biggest DTV films of the last few years, has hit the headlines this week after it emerged he was one of the leading lights behind the revived Carry On franchise. A new outing, Carry On Doctors, is due to start filming this October ahead of a 2017 release and the news was covered pretty much everywhere. His background means he’s keeping a keen eye on the title’s home entertainment prospects, and Sothcott told The Raygun: “I’m a big fan of Carry On – the three things I love are Bond, Carry On and Hammer Horror, so this is my ideal job. It’s bizarre, brilliant and wonderful to be involved in this. I’m determined not to screw it up and to get it right. I want to keep the old fans satisfied and find a new audience too. It’s going to be a big cinema release, we want to get the whole family along, with the kids going for the comedy slapstick and the parents the innuendo and double entendres. And Carry On has been an integral part of the home entertainment market for years and we’ll be keeping an eye on that too.”
With his Neon Demon appearing at Cannes, Nicolas Winding Refn took the opportunity at the festival to announce that he, alongside Vertigo’s Rupert Preston (albeit under the new banner of Sunrise Films), will be producing and developing a new version of classic horror Witchfinder General. Even those opposed to remake can’t fail to be excited by the news, Vertigo will distribute in the UK…
That Trainspotting sequel trailer you’ve all been waiting for…
Here’s one from Cannes…
Some strange goings on…
This one gets better and better…
More from the Sausage Party…
New Ghostbusters sets the internet on fire…
More from the forthcoming Star Trek…
It was Colonia, now it’s The Colony…
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