If you can't read this newsletter or see the ads, please click here

It Was A Good Week For… The month of September (see below)
It Was A Bad Week For… The months of July and August…
With the latest raft of announcements and pre-order releases kicking in this week, it looks as if September is lining up to be an unseasonably large month for the home entertainment sector. In the past seven days alone three major titles have gone up as pre-order items on websites ahead of their September UK release – with The Hunger Games, Marvel Avengers Assemble and a film we were discussing (again) last week, The Raid all up and running. They join a packed roster for the month, of titles that already have their release dates announced, some that have yet to be revealed yet and some which are still moving around slightly. If you include the late August Bank Holiday Monday and then follow it through for the subsequent four release dates in September, and you're looking at a slate which will far outstrip the ninth month of 2011, one that was buoyed by the likes of Star Wars on Blu-ray and the most recent Pirates Of The Caribbean offering. And it's not just new release feature films either, such as the trio we've mentioned here. There are big back catalogue releases, key TV franchises (both potential new ones and returning series) and children’s titles too. As HMV's Andy Anderson said: "It really is incredible. We're really excited about September, it's a very big month and could easily be bigger than last year." The veritable flood of titles will be welcome relief after a quiet summer, thanks in part to the triple whammy of the Jubilee, Euro 2012 and the Olympics, which means some suppliers and distributors are holding on to releases. September is further boosted by the earlier release in the UK of certain theatrical titles to avoid the aforementioned events, meaning that they can be released in this month after the standard theatrical to home entertainment window has closed. September will be, as one retailer we were chatting to this week noted, one of the reasons why we do our job and work in this business…

The countdown, Lionsgate proudly proclaimed, has begun. In a flurry of activity, both trade and consumer, the fast-growing company (see below) has this week kicked off its campaign for one of the year's biggest grossing films thus far, The Hunger Games. The title will be available on two-disc Blu-ray, two-disc DVD and digital formats on September 3. As Lionsgate's home entertainment md Nicola Pearcey said: "It's the first title in what we see as a massive, massive franchise." It will come with more than three hours of special features on the DVD and more on the BD. What's more, the latter version will be available in the "unseen", 15-rated version, at least on these shores, as the UK was the only country to trim the film to enable it to get a 12 certificate. As Pearcey noted at the company's Hunger Games and Q4 launch this week, Lionsgate has lots of plans for social networking and this was evident this week, with the clock on the website ticking down to 2pm on Friday at, ahead of the  official unveiling of the pre-order message on Friday. The clock is now ticking down to the release. Pearcey said: "We'll be in the digital space with a huge social media push to fans. The site will be a one-stop shop for all the information on the UK release, it'll be managed on a daily basis and regularly updated. It's all about engaging with our fans and creating an event. Every week we'll be building the hype to that amazing day." There will be a live event on the day of release too, encouraging fans to watch the film in unison. Further activity will be event-sized point of sale in-stores, including the countdown clocks, and even a chariot parade down Oxford Street in London's West End, encouraging fans to dress up for the event.  

But it wasn't just about The Hunger Games. In a rousing opening speech that effectively kicked off the Q4 presentation season, Lionsgate home entertainment md Nicola Pearcey paid tribute to those present who had faced up to the "challenging time" in the industry. Pearcey said: "It's these kind of challenges that make us a far stronger group of people and a far stronger entity." She further praised the marketing team at Lionsgate and the sales team at its joint venture Elevation for delivering growth "despite such challenging times". Pearcey outlined Lionsgate's phenomenal growth in recent years where, thanks to smart acquisitions (it has bought Twilight Saga producer, its own productions and pick-ups, it had grown to the stage where it's anticipated to make $1 billion in box office receipts in the North American market and a further $1 billion internationally. In less than six months this year, it's already earned £41.8 million in revenues at UK cinemas; its market share stands at a touch under three per cent (up from little more than half a per cent a few brief years ago), with most of the titles that have contributed to the near £42 million yet to arrive as home entertainment releases. It is partnering Icon on the company's releases, continuing its relationships with producers such as Nu Image, Shoreline, First Look and Henson and can also point to its impressive track record with box office conversion (its first Expendables release in 2010 was the years's best converter, last year's Conan was the second best converting title). Best of all, this year it has already marked a landmark week (noted here in The Raygun) where it had scored three of the top four UK box office titles. After revealing its Hunger Games plan, the company went on to unveil some, but not all, of its titles for Q4, including ante- and post-natal comedies What To Expect When You're Expecting and Friends With Kids, Miley Cyrus in LOL, a personally presented trailer for Keith Lemon: The Film, Possession and The Expendables 2. Oh, and Magic Mike, which was screened after the trade were treated to the England game. The Steven Soderbergh-helmed title is building a nice head of steam and our regular screening correspondent Alex Kidd noted: "Magic Mike was brilliant, hugely entertaining and very funny with a  trio of fantastic leading men who seemed to revel in the idea of playing a group of strippers."

Seeing as we've mentioned Alex Kidd, his thoughts on the most recent batch of films screened to the industry and press and the latest releases are up on our website. Also on our website this week: our regular review of DVD and home entertainment coverage in the national press, a look at Lionsgate's Industry Trust trailer, the first part of our Postcards From Cannes feature, and, up shortly, more on Momentum's The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan…

Back to Lionsgate and The Expendables, this week saw the release of the director's cut of the film on Blu-ray, ahead of the August theatrical release for the sequel. Timed to coincide with Father's Day, it includes a wealth of new extras, including an introduction by Sylvester Stallone, the driving force behind the gathering of the biggest action stars in the business, and, crucially, an extra 10 minutes worth of new, unseen footage. The company's Ben Grunbaum said: "The anticipation around The Expendables 2 and the opportunity around Father's Day gave us the perfect time to release our Expendables extended director's cut Blu-ray. We've had loads of interest from the fans who are keen to see the new special features including the 10 minutes of extra footage. The first The Expendables has now sold over 1.2 million copies to date and we can't wait to see Sly and co with more Schwarzenegger, Willis, Van Damme and Chuck Norris hit the screen in August."

One of the other big announcements this week came in the shape of Disney's confirmation of the release date of Marvel Avengers Assemble, aka The Avengers, which is, the major confirmed, now due on September 17. The title has this week eased past the £50 million mark at UK cinemas, after already soaring past the £1 billion mark at the worldwide box office. The September release will include assorted SKUs, and, as Disney said, after just three days of pre-orders is was "on track to be the second biggest week one in pre-order sales ever in the UK". Additional features will include unseen and documentary footage.

June 11 releases now and, as we mentioned last week, there was a launch event held in London's Leicester Square for the DVD and Blu-ray bow of eOne's Man On A Ledge. It was postponed for 24 hours because of the torrential rain on Monday, but a hefty crowd still turned out for the stunt, which mirrored one of the film's setpieces and saw a man on a, er, ledge, throwing out promotional money and real crisp £5 notes to crowds below. eOne's Jeff Suter said: "I’m really pleased with how our launch stunt went earlier today. We had a good crowd of people in Leicester Square and there was real buzz and excitement about the money. Overall the stunt really tied in with the film as it was a re-creation of the pivotal scene concerning the diamond heist and we’re hopefully of some great PR pick up for the story." It also helped the title off to a strong start. As Suter noted: "I’m really pleased with how our launch stunt went earlier today. We had a good crowd of people in Leicester Square and there was real buzz and excitement about the money. Overall the stunt really tied in with the film as it was a re-creation of the pivotal scene concerning the diamond heist and we’re hopefully of some great PR pick up for the story." Pictures up soon on our website

The big release on Monday June 18 is, of course, The Woman In Back, the Momentum chiller that arrives  with the highest ever box office for a UK horror behind it. As part of the pre-release activity, Momentum partnered with Hammer to jointly host a special screening of the film. As well as airing the Daniel Radcliffe starrer, the event, held at London's Prince Charles Cinema, also saw Hammer ceo (and Woman In Black producer) Simon Oakes unveiling an exclusive montage celebrating Hammer's history and also taking part in a Q&A. Kristin Ryan from Momentum Pictures said: “The Woman In Black already has a very loyal fanbase amongst the teenage audience, so we wanted to create an event that would appeal to Hammer fans of all ages. We were thrilled with the event, with journalists and fans alike enjoying the opportunity to learn more about both Hammer and The Woman In Black through Simon Oakes’ fantastic commentary. It was a great event to kick off our all-encompassing campaign in advance of Monday's release."

Sticking with The Woman In Black and any travellers on the London Underground on the weekend ahead of June 18 would have been able to see exclusive clips and content from the film courtesy of MyMovies.Net. The company has been chosen as one of the exclusive partners for Virgin's wifi service on the underground, which launched on the Victoria Line and is spreading out to further stations on the underground network. And it's already working hard to offer tube-goers some exclusive content, such as the never seen before clip looking at the making of the film. Momentum's Kristin Ryan said: "We’re proud to be the first film distributor in the UK to support this venture, connecting exciting content for The Woman In Black and an iconic British brand like Hammer Films with London Underground passengers." Underground users have to register their email addresses to access the portal, which offers content from its exclusive partners including MyMovies.Net. The service is set to expand its offering further after the summer. 

Clear Vision is readying itself for the biggest release on its annual calendar, the latest Wrestlemania outing. The multi-disc package, available on both Blu-ray and DVD, is due out on July 30 and will be matched by a suitably hefty campaign, which the independent is currently piecing together. The event was this year boosted by the return to the ring of one of the biggest names in its recent history, Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. The grappler turned Hollywood superstar returned to the fray after making his name in feature films, and the presence of this quintessential WWE superstar gives it even further potential. It will also be aided further by a television advertising campaign appealing to the core fans. Clear Vision's Ben Stanley said: "Every year we say it's the biggest and best year ever for Wrestlemania, but this year, it really yes. There are some really huge matches on there and the presence of The Rock is a real boost." More on this in weeks to come…

Talking of Clear Vision, director at the company, industry veteran and neighbour of The Raygun, Nic Sales has left the company after almost four years. And he is reactivating his old consultancy operation. In a statement to the trade, Sales said: "I have reformed my old consultancy business called Strategic Entertainment Solutions Limited (SES) and will be seeking international consultancy work both within and outside the industry specialising in commercial, sales, operations (manufacturing, authoring, production & distribution) and recruitment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support during my time at Clear Vision and wish you all the very best."

We've already mentioned some of what's up on our website, and also at, we look at Arrow's fantastic X-Rental box set, out this week ahead of Father's Day and one of the nicest packages we've seen for a while. And while we're on Arrow Video, we're excited about one of the next releases from the imprint. It sees the Arrow Video operation moving further afield from its core slate of horror and other gems from the golden age of VHS, and also sees Abel Ferrara's seminal gangster flick King Of New York getting its first ever Blu-ray release. It will also feature new material with Ferrara and comes with a further slew of extras and the kind of overall package and attention to detail you'd expect from Arrow Video, including steelbook and reversible sleeve featuring newly-commissioned artwork. The label's Francesco Simeoni said: " We are really pleased to be adding King of New York to the Arrow Video label, Abel Ferrara is a key filmmaker for us, he represents one of the best of the Video Nasty era directors flourishing and working in other genres and this film is his masterpiece. There is strong media interest in the title, with across-the-board reviews and promotions confirmed to run next week and across wk1, due in part to the fact that this is first time King of New York has been restored for Blu-ray. The inclusion of the film on the label will see a totally new audience discovering Arrow Video and here they will find everything the label stands for; deluxe packaging and discs with optimal audio and video quality bursting with extras which includes a newly commissioned interview with Ferrara himself.     
And we'll end with a couple of titbits from HMV, where store and head office staff hae helped raise £12,500 for Teenage Cancer Trust after donating a fiver each to the charity, and also raising further cash through swearboxes and the likes. Also from the retailer, it this week published a list of top Father's Day gifts across its offerings, with the bestsellers led by The Muppets, ith other DVD releases, including J Edgar and the Alien Quadrilogy also featuring in its chart…

“We’re at the end of the digital beginning.”
From PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment And Media Outlook report, which predicts the UK entertainment and media sector will grow by three per cent each year to 2016, making it worth some £63 billion. Internet advertising is the fastest growth area…
And in between watching the football, going to screenings and assorted other bits and bobs during the weekend, we’re sitting down with two of the latest check discs to land on our mat, the double whammy of Double Indemnity and Lost Weekend from Eureka’s ever-wonderful Masters Of Cinema imprint. Both are directed by Billy Wilder, which sees him being “welcomed” to the MoC imprint, and both are due on June 25. As Eureka’s managing director Ron Benson said: “Both titles are brand new HD transfers, and being released worldwide on Blu-ray for the very first time. Double Indemnity is widely regarded as a classic, the quintessential film noir, which set the standard for all future noirs, and Lost Weekend, won four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Our disc features a new and exclusive video introduction by cult director Alex Cox.”
Film magazine Little White Lies and its parent company The Church Of London, which is a design and magazine specialist, among other things, has become notable for hosting some of the best industry bashes, bringing together in particular some of the best indies in the business for a beer or two. To mark moving into its flash new offices in Leonard Street, Shoreditch (a few doors down from the old RRP offices and The Raygun's favourite hostelry, The Griffin) and opening the basement gallery cum screening room,  it has been hosting the odd bash for some of its pals. We were down there last Friday, while others from the industry were out in force last night. It's a great location and, we reckon, a great place to host screenings… And there was also the Lionsgate presentation, followed by the football and a film. The only thing that marred it were England, in all honesty.…

Prometheus continued its reign, as the summer blockbuster season slowed thanks to the start of some football tournament or other. It has now taken more than £15 million at UK cinemas, slightly ahead of the number two Men In Black 3. As noted above, Marvel Avengers Assemble has now passed the £50 million mark. The only new entries in the top 10 were The Pact, which took just under £1 million, and the excellent Ill Manors.
What’s the best boxing film ever, Rocky, or Raging Bull? And who’d win in an imaginary fight between the former’s Balboa and the latter’s real-life Jake La Motta? Well, if Grudge Match, said to be in the works from Warner, has its way, we’ll be able to find out. For on screen sluggers Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are set to face each other in the comedy about two retired pugilists who face up to each other for one last bout…
The debate about the best and worst video game to film adaptations is set to be renewed if, as reports indicate, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is adapted for the big screen. The Ubisoft game is next up for the treatment, with Paramount and Universal circling. While we may be looking forward to the film, we’re not too fussed about the predictable rash of online chatter and blogs about why game to film adaptations do or don’t work…
Also from paramount and another adaptation, albeit book to film, is in the works and it’s an interesting one. For Joe Cornish, of Attack The Block and Adam And Joe fame, is being lined up to write and direct the big screen take on Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk bestseller Snow Crash. His credentials should mean less pouting and whining from the fan boys who lapped up the book, the protagonist and hero of which is called, incidentally, Hiro Protagonist…
Here's some interesting reading, from The Guardian, an interview with Warner's UK, Ireland and Spain supremo Josh Berger…
This week followers of @theraygun have had news on the likes of The Hunger Games and loads of pictures of old memorabilia (or junk) from our own personal collection, all of which sent our timeline a bit bonkers… Follow us on
This week's horror fare…
The pitch: "It's Toy Story, but for video games."
This week's Brave teaser…
Hello, TWC, the 90s called, they want their trailer voiceover back…