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It Was A Good Week For... All the BASE Awards winners, specially Universal…
It Was A Bad Week For… We hear that one company is set for liquidation, more next week…

And so, the day after the night before, and the industry was nursing a collective sore head after the first ever industry awards ceremony to carry the BASE moniker, after the BVA changed its name to the British Association for Screen Entertainment. And it was Universal that dominated the evening, picking up a whopping seven newly-minted BASE Awards, while both Warner and Studiocanal scored a hat-trick of gongs on the evening too. Universal’s wins reflected its record-breaking year in 2015, with its Distributor Of The Year award highlighting its dominance, while it also showed its breadth and diversity too, with awards taking in marketing for Children’s (Barbie In Rock ’N’ Royals), Special Interest (Michael McIntyre Live), Catalogue Single Product (for Back To The Future), Film Non-Theatrical (its acquisition release of I Believe In Miracles, the Nottingham Forest documentary), Film £1m to £4.99m Box Office (Ex-Machina) and its blockbuster fare too, with the PR Publicity Initiative gong for its Jurassic Word activity. What’s more, Universal provided one of the evening’s highlights, with the appearance of two dancing Minions in the middle of the ceremony (this actually happened, you didn’t imagine it). Commenting on its huge success, the company’s Ian Foster said: “We are overjoyed with the seven gongs Universal took home at the first annual BASE Awards! It was an honour to be recognised for fields as diverse as special interest, PR, catalogue, children and non-theatrical; not forgetting Distributor of the Year. This year’s high caliber winners and nominees showcased the strength and creativity of our category, and the awards were a great opportunity to celebrate with our industry colleagues.”
Studiocanal capped off a fine year with a trio of awards, for Catalogue Multiple Product for its Vintage Classics Campaign, the Multi-Screen Award for Legend and the Marketing Campaign For Film Over £15m Box Office for Paddington, proving that it can play in the big leagues with the studios when it comes to blockbuster product. Commenting on its success, the company’s John Rodden said: “We're delighted to have won three awards at last night's BASE Awards. It's been a tremendous year for us and it's great to be recognised by our industry peers. Paddington and Legend have been success stories from theatrical right through to every aspect of the home entertainment release. Our Vintage Classics brand launch has been phenomenally successful for us and is a great foundation on which we will continue build. Congratulations to the whole Studiocanal team and our colleagues at Elevation Sales and indeed to all of last night's deserving winners." 

As mentioned earlier, Warner was the other big winner, picking up three gongs, including Marketing Campaign for Film £1m to £4.99m Box Office, an award for John Wick that was shared with Universal’s Ex-Machina; Marketing Campaign for Film £5m to £14.99m for American Sniper and Title Of The Year for The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies.
As for the rest of the awards: Lionsgate picked up the Marketing Campaign TV for Mad Men The Final Season part Two; Signature continued its recent strong run of successes at awards by scooping the award for Marketing Campaign Film Up To £1m Box Office for Predestination. In the retail categories, there were two apiece for Amazon (Home Delivery Retailer Of The Year and Retailer Initiative for its work on The Hub) and Sky Store (Digital Retailer Of The Year gongs for both Ownership and Rental categories). Tesco won Retail In-Store Initiative for its work on Jurassic World and in a keenly fought category HMV won Retail Store Of The Year, beating off competition from sister retailer FOPP. And last, but by no means least,  Wilderness won Supplier Of Year. Commenting on the awards, BASE chief executive Liz Bales said: ““The first BASE awards have been a huge success and we are thrilled that the event continues to shine a light on the variety of talent in the video industry. The category continues to create new and exciting campaigns to reach audiences in ways they haven’t before, not forgetting the innovative ways that retailers both physically and digitally are consistently evolving to meet the insatiable appetite UK audiences have for high quality video content. It’s important that we continue to acknowledge all those dedicated to making the video industry the great success that it is.”
We also spoke to HMV’s Rudy Osorio after the retailer’s success. He told The Raygun: “We are incredibly appreciative to be recognised for Retail Store Of The Year for four years in a row now. It's especially pleasing this year to have received nominations also for Fopp and for our online store,, for Home Delivery Retailer Of The Year, which we we are very proud of and the team here are inspired to win it next year!”
And what of the rest of the evening? Well, kudos to host Claudia Winkleman, who breezed through her presenting duties, keeping the awards going at a nice brisk pace, adding a bit of sauciness with her references to the bloke from finance, and for proving to be hugely popular with the audience. Oh, and her comment directed towards Elevation’s Kevin Dersley (“Kevin smells nice”) was one of the highlights. Elsewhere, the party after the awards was suitably raucous, with plenty of dancing, plenty of drinks, loads of daft pictures being taken, a few casualties here and there (although, as someone noted, “ no ambulances… yet”), the odd pool of vomit (“don’t stand there, someone’s been sick” as one helpful security staff member told us), familiar faces, younger faces and loads more (at least two stories which are beyond unprintable too). Tobacco Dock is proving itself to be a worthy venue and the feedback we got on the night, apart from some of the nominees who missed out, of course, was that it was an excellent evening. And on top of all that, it raised more than £7,000 for charity Action for Children. Roll on next year… We'll have the full list of winners up on our website soon and expect more reaction and comment on next week's newsletter too…

And so on to this week’s bestsellers and the regular midweek bulletin from the Official Charts Company, which shows that it’s been a craving week for Fox, with The Revenant shifting just short of 100,000 units in its first few days on sale, putting it on target to be the week’s number one when the charts are unveiled on Sunday.  And Fox is hoping that its success will keep on going through until Father’s Day, and beyond. Speaking about the release and its success, Fox senior product manager Nairi O’Brien said: “Ever since its theatrical release, The Revenant has proved itself to be a relentless success, racking up an incredible nine Oscar nominations and three wins. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G Inarritu and Emmanuel Lubezki leading the helm this awards season, this epic survival story has been at the forefront of cinematic achievement. We consciously chose to hold The Revenant home entertainment release to allow us to capitalise on Father’s Day gifting. We are delighted with the Digital HD sales to date, along with the first week of physical sales which are both above forecast, cementing the success of the film throughout its lifecycle. We are thrilled with the performance so far and look forward to building on this foundation next week in the build up to Father’s Day.” 
The Revenant is outselling the rest of the week’s top 10 combined, while the rest of the top five is made up by familiar titles, with Goosebumps at number two, Star Wars: The Force Awakens at number three, The Hateful Eight back up to number four and Ride Along 2 at five.  Concussion is the only other new entry in the top 10, the SPHE Will Smith starrer in at number nine, with other new entries at 18 (The Shannara Chronicles) and 19 (Suits Season Five). This year’s Wrestlemania release from Fremantle is at 23, while Steven Seagal shows you can’t keep an old action hero down, returning to the top 30 with Code Of Honour through High Fliers…
Meanwhile, just arrived as a Digital HD release ahead of its physical bow on Monday June 13 is Deadpool, one of the year’s most talked about – and most successful – comic book films. As reported here, its digital release broke records in the US recently and it’s been performing strongly here too this week. As’s Simon Homent said: “Deadpool was our biggest ever pre-order title and that momentum has continued into the first week of release, being our second biggest ever week one in EST behind only Star Wars. We're delighted with this result and the marketing plan that we have executed, focussing on the EST opportunity and appealing to the fans."
And what of the physical release of Deadpool? Well, there’s plenty going on for this one, as a barman has already visited key media outlets with a copy of the film and a special drink in shot glasses (if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know what we’re on about). And, as well as a wealth of activity in terms of PR (Brit bad guy Ed Skrein has done a number of interviews around release), there’s a great wheeze taking place which will see a Deadpool vehicle taking to the streets, touring the UK at assorted venues to hand out free ice cream poos (that’s no typo, it really is Deapool poo-themed ice cream) to punters. It kicks off in Manchester on Monday June 13, heading to Blackpool on Tuesday before arriving in London’s Shoreditch Box Park on Thursday. On Wednesday it will be visiting a venue to be confirmed, with the public voting on the UK’s rudest place name, which the ban will duly visit. More on this release next week…

Congratulations are in order to John Stanley, who hopefully won’t mind us calling him an industry veteran, who this week got a richly deserved promotion, being named as (deep breath) executive vice president and managing director, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group UK, Ireland, Spain & Nordics, moving up from senior vp in recognition of his “outstanding contribution” across numerous territories, and his work with digital distribution and consumer products arms of the giant, as well as Warner’s UK performance – three times number one distributor in the last five years, and a top three publisher on the  games side too. Warner presider and md for the UK, Ireland and Spain, Josh Berger, who Stanley reports too, said: “John’s well-deserved promotion reflects how instrumental he has been to our success in recent years. He has transformed our home entertainment operation, building an industry-leading cross-category retail offer and successfully transitioning the business to take advantage of all the opportunities that digital landscape offers.” 
While everyone was getting ready for the awards, the Industry Trust was keeping itself busy unveiling another new trailer as part of its ongoing Moments Worth Paying For initiative. The latest in the ongoing campaign highlighting the importance of copyright in helping films get made and the need to see them legitimately, has pulled off something of a coup too, in getting none other than Steven Spielberg to film a special piece to camera. The legendary director encourages audiences to see his latest film, Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG, on the big screen. The Trust has worked with eOne on the ad, the company’s head of theatrical distribution Kezia Williams said: “We are really pleased to be working with The Industry Trust again, this time on The BFG. The educational work they do is so important for the film industry and we are always happy to support their campaign. We hope audiences are inspired to join Steven Spielberg for the this magical adventure this summer - and where better to see giants than on the big screen.” The Trust’s Sylvia Wan added: “It’s great to be able to get access to such an inspirational figure in the film industry and create bespoke pieces to camera. We are really thankful to eOne for securing Steven Spielberg for an exclusive greeting. Having someone as admired as Steven Spielberg delivering our message is much more powerful and engaging for audiences of all ages, inspiring them to choose the big screen and all those magical moments worth paying for.” The ad appears in cinemas from Friday, June 10, the film opens on July 22. 
We promised more Cannes acquisition news and we're true to our word, thanks in no small part to an announcement from the ever-acquisitive and hugely ambitious Signature operation, one of the most active independents at the market in recent years. And it's been busy this year too, pronouncing it a successful market after signing in the dotted line for a number of big releases for its burgeoning theatrical slate ahead of eventual home entertainment release. Titles include The Titan from the hugely commercial Voltage Pictures, a big military sci-if film starring Sam Worthington; Temple, a Wesley Snipes actioner from the same production outfit; Liam Neeson in Operation Chromite; more from a dependable name in the shape of Sean Bean in Drone and Dominic Monaghan in psycho thriller Pet. All titles will be released later this year and into 2017. Signature’s head of acquisitions Elizabeth Williams said: “Cannes has proven to be an extremely successful market for Signature with over a dozen titles. Our accomplished and bold approach to releasing films has not gone unnoticed by our partners who clearly believe Signature is the best home for their product. And with negotiations still ongoing on a number of other titles across a wide range of genres for theatrical and home-entertainment, the whole team are looking forward to releasing these commercial and quality films over the coming months.”
More acquisitions news now and the ever-growing Screenbound operation has signalled its intentions to widen its scope, by taking in new feature film releases alongside its selection of classic movies, TV and other titles. It has, the independent said, fought out interest from other UK distributors to pick up black comedy horror Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies (which must surely be a contender for title of the year). Screenbound is currently eyeing festival opportunities in the late summer and autumn, with a theatrical run planned for Halloween ahead of a Q4 release on home entertainment formats. Commenting on the acquisition, trade marketing executive Martin Glew said: “Securing the rights to this superb zombie-com was a coup for Screenbound and a sign of things to come as we extend our previously classic films offer for TV and home entertainment, to also include new features.”

Another week, another big title announced for Amazon Prime in the UK, with the arrival on the svod service this week of UnREAL, a dark comedy set around a fictional TV dating show. The first series went up instantly, with episodes from the second season going up on a weekly basis. “We’re pleased to be able to bring this celebrated show to Amazon Prime members in the UK and Germany,” said Jay Marine, vp Amazon Prime Video EU. “Joining Golden Globe winners like Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent; the forthcoming Clarkson, Hammond and May show, The Grand Tour; Mr Robot, Outlander and many others, unREAL is a great addition to our line-up of TV shows you can’t watch anywhere else.”
Ahead of unveiling its line-up for the annual flagship London event, and just after announcing new sponsors, FrightFest, or Horror Channel FrightFest, to give it its full new title, has unleashed a new competition inviting would-be designers and artists to design their own poster for the five day event due to take place at the Vue cinema in Shepherd’s Bush in late August. It has teamed up with the Poster Spy, with the winner getting a cash prize, free pass to the event and more, as well as have their design as an alternative poster alongside the official one from Graham Humphreys. Humphreys himself, as well as our old pal David Hughes from and the FrightFest team will judge the event. FrightFest’s Ian Rattray said: “We’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while, so it’s great to be able to team up with Poster Spy and shout out to all that great talent out there.” Jack Woodhams, CEO and Founder of Poster Spy, added: “At Poster Spy we're always keen to bring artists great opportunities and by teaming up with FrightFest, the UK's leading genre festival, we're giving artists a chance to get their work seen by industry professionals as well as participate in a great contest.” Budding artists should go to for more…
While we’re all recovering from the BASE Awards, kind-hearted and fitness-friendly folk at Zavvi parent The Hut Group are spending the weekend helping raise cash for the Street Soccer Academy charity which works with underprivileged kids. Two events taking place in Reddish, Manchester over the weekend will see Hut Group staffers and sponsors MyProtein taking part in a marathon football game as well as keeping a team on a treadmill for 24 hours too. And then in July, there’s a celebrity football game at West Didsbury & Chorlton FC. You can support the initiative by going here:

“As The Binge Scale indicates, the viewing experience of a series can range from the emotional to the thought-provoking. Netflix helps you to find a series to binge no matter your mood or occasion, and the freedom to watch that series at your own pace - whether that’s to appreciate the drama of Bloodline or power through Orange is the New Black.”
Cindy Holland, vp of original content at Netflix announcing the svod company’s Binge Scale which looked at how consumers viewed its programmes and at what pace, which earned column inches everywhere…
Half term brought with it lots of biggies, including the first and second titles in the UK box office top 10, both new entries arriving on the back of their achievements in pulling in the kids. Warcraft: The Beginning entered at number one, with £3.6 million, while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows was at number two with just under £3.5 million. There was another new entry at number three for Me Before You with just under £1.8 million, while The Nice Guys arrived with more than £1 million. The other new entry at number 10 was Houseful 3, with £272,705. 
Some TV news now and Bob Odenkirk, aka Saul (or Jimmy) from Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad has been announced as the star of a miniseries based on the life of journalist turned crackhead David Carr, who sunk to rock bottom before turning his life around. It’s following the same route to screen as the likes of Breaking Bad and Saul, in that it’s being produced by Sony Pictures Television, followed by TX on the AMC network in the US. Night Of The Gun, taken from Carr’s memoir, is being produced by creator of The Shield Shawn Ryan. 
Pacific Rim 2, the long awaited sequel to the underrated Guillermo del Toro monster movie, is up and running at last, with the news that the follow up to the 2013 kind-of-hit will star John Boyega. The Star Wars lead is further cementing his credentials as big, box office friendly talent with the announcement. Del Toro has penned and will produce the film, which will be directed by Steven S DeKnight, whose CV includes the likes of the Netflix take on Daredevil. Universal will release the film…
Lego Dimensions, not strictly related, but so good…
This latest Shallows trailer is outstanding…
Forthcoming series from Netflix…
Like when I lost that hat and became obsessed with it…
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