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It was a good week for... BBC Worldwide, launching its BBC Store to great fanfare and loads of coverage…
It Was A Bad Week For… EU plans to block the geoblocking, as it looks like opening up borders for film fans is off the agenda… 
And, as anticipated right here on The Raygun this week, Universal looked on course to oust itself from the top slot (not for the last time this year, we’d wager), as Terminator Genisys, the refreshing of the Arnie franchise, was on target for the top slot this week according to the Official Charts Company’s midweek bulletin, having shifted more than  100,000 units in its first week on sale. What’s more, it’s a cracking start to the Q4 season for the biggest release thus far from the new deal which sees Universal looking after Paramount’s physical releases, its success will make it Paramount’s biggest of 2015. Meanwhile, another title covered last week, Nativity 3 – Dude Where’s My Donkey, is in at number three in the midweeks, wight Vikings - The Complete Third Season at four, Amy at five (see below) and The Longest Ride at number eight. 
We've been tracking Amy for some months now, since we saw it at an Altitude screening some months back, following the film through its record-breaking theatrical release (it's the highest grossing homegrown documentary ever at UK cinemas as well as the relative newcomer's biggest release thus far) and up to its home entertainment bow. And we're pleased to report that, backed by some strong marketing from the independent, it's made a strong start after its November 2 release, sitting at number five in the Official Charts Company's midweek charts. Further marketing since we last talked about it included projections of unseen pictures of the tragic singer being projected over her old haunts in Camden. Commenting on its success, Altitude's James Warren said: "We're off to a fantastic start! Our extensive media support is in full swing with no sign of slowing down; with activity planned all the way up to Christmas and the New Year. The work doesn’t stop here as we’ll be continuing to campaign hard through the awards season, this week buoyed with an amazing five BIFA nominations."
We briefly looked at Arrow Films’ Pay The Ghost last week and it’s worth noting that the title has continued its strong performance, ending its first week on sale in the number eight position on the Official Charts Company’s overall best seller listing. What’s more, it also ended up being the independent’s biggest ever week one seller and has buoyed the company ahead of a raft of similarly strong, big name DTV titles. As the company’s Jon Sadler said: “‘We are thrilled to have achieved our highest ever unit sales week one with the release of Pay the Ghost last week. To have gone up two chart places over the Friday and Saturday was gratifying and it was good to see our all or nothing Halloween approach pay off as there were no previous windows to this release. Next up for us in this space we have Lessons in Love – on Monday – starring Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba and in Q1 continue with big-cast DTV with Backtrack – starring Adrien Brody and The Benefactor with Richard Gere. We have experimented with different windows this year and will be doing post-analysis on the more long-term benefits of each platform but it’s clear to see that big name DTV can deliver strong results without the need for a colossal theatrical P&A spend and the length of window such a release requires.”
We've already discussed how the Q4 theatrical slate will positively impact on 2016's home entertainment market and the sterling and record-breaking performance of the latest James Bond outing Spectre at UK cinemas should have retailers of all forms positively salivating at the as-yet-unannounced physical and digital appearance of the film due next year. Records shattered on the way to its first week total of £41.3 million, which puts it well on the way to topping Skyfall's UK record of £100 million plus.


To London's Leicester Square, where Lionsgate was hosting the multimedia screening for The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2, the final instalment in the hugely successful blockbuster series. Needless to say, anticipation was at fever pitch and it's a cracking end to the series that has notched up total sales of more than 4 million units already In the UK in its previous outings. It's potential is further boosted by the fact the home entertainment bow likely in the first part of 2016 will be accompanied by all sorts of complete boxset opportunities. Oh, and our 12-year-old junior correspondent loved it too...Commenting on the film, Lionsgate's Ben Grunbaum said: "The last film in the Hunger Games franchise is pumped full of thrills, suspense and blockbuster action. We can’t wait to share this fitting and emotional end with all the fans. One chase scene alone will definitely have you jumping off your seat.”
Biggest news of the week, and a story covered across the board (everyone from The Times and The Guardian, through to Doctor Who magazine and Gardeners World, as well as us at The Raygun were at the press conference) was the official unveiling of the long-mooted BBC Store, the download-to-own commercial vod site from BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the television giant. And what a store it is – 7,000 hours’ worth of content from the BBC archives. It takes in everything, from the obscure and the rarely seen (some black and white Dennis Potter plays, for starters) and the crown jewels of the corporation – Fawlty Towers, Doctor Who, Dad’s Army and so on. It dates back to the 1950s, with Muffin The Mule, and bang up to date, with titles being added as their time on the sister BBC iPlayer expires 28 days after transmission. It links neatly with the iPlayer, and consumers can download to watch later or stream on their laptops, computers and assorted devices. It won’t affect their Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video deals, Worldwide md Marcus Arthur said, and will sit neatly alongside its DVD offering. “Our DVD business is still next to the studios in terms of being the biggest in the UK,” he noted, mentioning its Q4 slate featuring the likes of John Bishop, Car Share and a new Top Gear special. “We doing some really interesting stuff [with DVD],” he added. “I hope the DVD business os strong for a very, very long time. It’s really important for us and [BBC Store] is complementary to it.” In an official statement, Arthur said: “We want BBC Store to do for digital ownership what BBC iPlayer did for catch up. BBC Store makes digital ownership really easy for audiences and means that we can begin opening up the incredible BBC television archive.” A further 3,000 hours will be added in the next year. In terms of functionality, there will be series passes available to buy for current programmes, while classics can be bought in single or complete series forms.  
At the launch for the BBC Store, you could almost see the assorted journalists in the room sit up and start frantically taking notes when BBC Worldwide md Marcus Arthur said that the DVD business had “halved in the last four years”, before adding that BBC Store was “giving consumers the opportunity to just update what their habit was on DVD”. Obviously, the “halved” mention became a key point in most stories, although, after chatting to the BVA, among others, it’s worth noting that while DVD new release TV (not, dear journalists, the overall DVD business), may be down some 47 per cent in the past three years, there are other growth areas not mentioned – Blu-ray catalogue TV sales, a burgeoning sector, are up 50 per cent over the same series. In year on year terms, new release TV DVD volumes are down some 25 per cent, catalogue sales on Blu-ray are up nine per cent this year. From the BBC’s behalf, it’s worth remembering that there’s no Sherlock this year, and, going back a few years, it had the joint BBC WW and 2 entertain output too… But when did journalists ever let the detail get in the way of their narrative (DVD plummeting, digital here to save the day)?


It’s AFM time, in which poor acquisitions executives head over to California while the rest of us suffer in the rain, doing deals to acquire new films. And as the film market started, Signature announced another deal, signing on the dotted line for a six-picture deal with Emmett Furla Oasis Films. The production company has a catalogue that includes the likes of End Of Watch, Lone Survivor and Escape Plan, the deal includes Bruce Willis actioner Precious Cargo and Shadow Warrior, the first film due under the deal, which will arrive at the end of 2016. Commenting on the deal, Signature supremo Marc Goldberg said: “Randy Emmett and George Furla are two of the most exciting and commercial film producers in the world and we are delighted to be collaborating with them. Audiences around the globe have enjoyed their dynamic and recognised films. They are an established production company with a consistent track record for bringing entertaining films to the market – a reputation matched by Signature in the UK.” Emmett added: “We are beyond excited to be partners with such a quality film distributor such as Signature. Marc and his team have already acquired many Emmett Furla Oasis productions and this was seen as a natural fit to extend our output relationship with such a quality and talented team.” 
Every now and then you see a trailer and know you’re going to absolutely, without fail, love the film it’s advertising. And that was just the case with documentary Fresh Dressed, which charts the links between hip hop and fashion, from the formative years of the movement through to its multi-billion dollar global domination. Within seconds of the trailer starting, we had proudly proclaimed that it was going to be one of our films of the year, and we weren’t disappointed. And now, after a rapturously received London Film Festival airing, theatrical and vod release, the documentary is heading to DVD on Monday November 9. We loved it so much we interviewed the director Sacha Jenkins for our regular Raygunesque column on The Ransom Note, (here) ahead of its bow. Commenting on the release, Dogwoof’s Daniel Green said: “This year's London Film Festival proved the perfect launchpad for Fresh Dressed and we now welcome the film onto DVD following its theatrical/digital day and date released at the end of October. The DVD package includes a host of additional interviews with Damon Dash, Dapper Dan, Nas and many more, making it the perfect stocking-filler for hip-hop fans and fashionistas alike.”
Those Q1 presentations and announcements are starting to come in thick and fast and the latest to unveil its slate is the BFI, with a slate for the first part of the year that includes, in January, world cinema in the shape of Farewell My Concubine, wartime austerity in Love On The Dole and BFI National Archive compilation Ration Books And Rabbit Pies: Films From The Home Front. February has two boxsets featuring Ken Russell’s TV output from the 1960s as well as the director’s Valentino. In March there’s Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande A Part, silent classic Shooting Stars and a double bull of Peter Watkins; Culloden and The War Game. Commenting on the slate, the BFI’s Georgia Grey said: “A Palme d’Or winning film, classic Godard and box sets of ground-breaking TV are just some of the highlights kicking off the New Year for the BFI DVD and Blu-ray label. Our diverse slate of releases for 2016 ranges from some of the cream of world cinema on Blu-ray, titles such as Underground and Bande a Part to celebrating the work of the late, great Ken Russell with two box sets of his TV documentary work.’
Icon’s keeping itself busy following the recent launch of its joint imprint with FrightFest, FrightFest Presents. Firstly there’s preparations for its big post-Christmas release, Transporter Refuelled, due on December 26 and shaping up nicely in that traditional blokey Boxing Day slot. And then there’s a physical release for Aaaaaaaah!, the FrightFest Presents title that is knew of the strangest – and best -– films you’ll see this year. Director and star Steve Oram was deservedly nominated for a BIFA this week and the film, supported by wonderful key art and a host of big British comedy names in it, offers up plenty of potential for the release, especially for the fact that it’s all in a primitive, ape-like language. As Icon’s Chris Warrington said: “A great deal of effort and creativity has gone into creating a disc that reflects and celebrates the uniqueness of the film with bags of distinctive extras, including a language option where everything, menus and all, is in ‘ape’!”  

Well, we told you, didn’t we? After its huge success with the recent sumptuous edition of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, which sold out in minutes, we said here that Arrow Video’s lavish Hellraiser Scarlet Box was going to be a hugely sought after set, and it seems as if we were right. It’s now sold at at Arrow’s own site (it went before releases on October 26), as well as Amazon, where it’s fetching around £100 through marketplace, while keen collectors are visiting hmv stores trying to track the remaining copies down before they all disappear. It joins Videodrome as a hugely collectable and desirable set. The former arrives in separate Blu-ray and DVD editions on December 7, while a more standard Hellraiser Trilogy Blu-ray release us due at the end of January 2016.
Speaking of Arrow, the company this week went on social media (doesn’t everyone these days?) to announce its February slate, with UK only and UK and US editions all covered off. Its UK titles include Mario Bava’s giallo classic Five Dolls For An August Moon, locked-up sleaze in Reform School Girls and Japanese shocker Audition making its bow in standard Blu-ray and dual format Steelbook editions. There’s also Blu-ray releases for the stunning visual masterpieces Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi. The February titles join a previously announced January slate that includes Japanese genre title Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol 1 and US trash pairing Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls and The Seven Minutes, as well as the aforementioned Hellraiser. Commenting on the selection, Arrow Video’s Francesco Simeoni said: “We’re thrilled to once again be offering genre fans great variety with horror, trash, exploitation and more. Audition will finally be given the release it deserves with a brand new 2K restoration of original elements undertaken by Arrow and will premiere in a theatrical re-issue soon, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the shock masterpiece and will be backed by a hefty campaign.” 
Arguably the biggest announcement from Arrow Video was the launch, from both its UK and US operations, of the American Horror Project. It’s an ambitious series of releases, with the first due on February 22 ,which sees the label aiming to preserve some of the weirdest and strangest US horror films. The Project will be made up of a series of boxsets, the first will contain Malatesta’s Carnival Of Blood, The Witch Who Came From The Sea and The Premonition. Arrow Video’s Ewan Cant said:“American Horror Project is perhaps one of our most exciting undertakings to date. Not only are we bringing fans some incredibly weird and wonderful titles from the golden age of US horror that may have so far escaped their notice, but in many instances, we’re rescuing these films from being lost forever due to lack of good quality source material. Each of these films is unique, each is important, and American Horror Project is all about putting these movies back on the genre map for all to enjoy. We can’t wait to see what the fan response is like to this ambitious series.” Arrow’s head of technical and restoration services James White added: “The majority of these films haven’t been seen for many years, and none of them will have ever been remastered for Blu-ray before. In some cases, they will have only been available on VHS. So for every one of our titles, we’ll be restoring these films from scratch, seeking out the best existing source elements and (whenever possible) involving the original filmmakers to ensure that the films can be seen at the highest quality and in most historically accurate presentations possible. In many cases this may mean extensive detective work and piecing the films back together from a number of separate elements, given the lack of care that some of these titles suffered back in the day.”
Out on Monday (November 9), courtesy of SPHE, is the rather excellent Better Call Saul, the post-Breaking Bad title which follows the exploits of the show's charismatic lawyer and fits neatly into creator Vince Gilligan’s universe. It’s the physical release of the Netflix hit and, given its predecessor’s DVD and Blu0ray performance after svod availability, it’s target to be one of the year’s strongest TV performers. SPHE’s campaign is smartly targeting the existing and hefty Breaking Bad fanbase, with an outdoor and digital campaign. There’s already been plenty of PR, with the competition asking fans to design a Steelbook cover for the series generating lots of interest. Next Thursday (November 12) will see a special Better Call Bingo event taking place in the capital, jointly hosted by SPHE, hmv and NME. Commenting on the campaign, SPHE’s Chris Howarth said: “It’s really fitting in the week that ‘binge-watch’ enters the dictionary that we’re gearing up to release Better Call Saul, the most eagerly anticipated new show of the year and a ‘must-see’ for TV lovers this Q4. The spin-off surpassed the sky high expectations of Breaking Bad fans, scoring an incredible 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, and is set to give the original a run for its money. Our campaign will sustain awareness for the title through till Christmas. Saul will be fronting our TV gifting campaign and positioned as the essential buy for Breaking Bad fans.”
Anyone strolling around central London on Monday November 2 will have been somewhat taken aback to see reindeer strolling around the West End, surprising commuters and journalists whose offices they visited as part of the stunt. It was organised to mark the release of Warner’s seasonal outing Get Santa and was part of a campaign that included a mummy-blogger tweetalong. The pea-souper in London gave the proceedings a distinctly picture postcard feel. As Warner Bros. senior marketing manager Lisa Towey said: “With our fantastically festive reindeers and a media and retail strategy supporting the release throughout the entire Christmas period, we're really looking forward to watching the campaign snowball.”

The music market is heating up after a quiet time in recent months, what with Amy selling well (see above), Cliff Richard’s 75th birthday celebration release due on November 30 via Spirit getting plenty of coverage in the Daily Mirror and Universal gearing up for the November 16 release of Roger Waters The Wall, a film charting the Pink Floyd man touring with one of his finest creations. The title is available in a lavish two-disc Blu-ray special edition and standard DVD, BD and download formats. Commenting on the release, Universal’s Adam Eldrett said: “We’re excited to be releasing Roger Waters The Wall, a moving documentary interspersed with concert footage from The Wall live tour, on November 16 in the UK. On September 29 the film went out in over 2,000 Picturehouse screens globally amassing an impressive $3.8m box office. In the UK, the film reached a box office of £413,000 from its one night showing with positive reviews across the board. Since announcing our release on September 30, our two-disc special edition has not moved out of the top three docs on Amazon and pre-orders are extremely strong. We have a Digital Download edition, a single DVD, a single Blu-Ray and also a limited edition Two Disc Blu-Ray that is a work of art in itself. The Special Edition has effectively been designed by the film’s director Sean Evans and it comes with over 90 minutes of bonus features, 32-page booklet, art cards and poster, all in a luxurious rigid slipcase and a must own for any fan of Roger or Pink Floyd. Our PR campaign is well underway, with Roger Waters and director Sean Evans in the UK next week to complete a jam-packed international press junket with media flying in from Germany, France and Italy for interviews. This is following a US junket with interviews secured across broadcast, print and online media.”
Loads of Amazon related news this week, both from the Prime Video side of the service and the retail side too. From the former, it’s announced that it’s ordered three original kids’ series, Dino Dana, The Kicks and Lost In Oz, as well as getting an exclusive on Shaun The Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas, which we discussed here last week, and due to make its debut on the service on November 13. Making its debut this week is the latest pilot season from the service, with debut episodes from Edge, Good Girls Revolt, Highston, One Mississippi, Patriot and Z all appearing. It’s also given the greenlight to its latest series, with Sneaky Pete, starring, among others, Giovanni Ribisi, set to appear next year after getting the nod. 
Over on its retail side, Amazon has this week opened its own retail outlet in the US (in Seattle, obviously), while in the UK it has extended its Same Day Prime delivery service to take in the whole of Greater London, with DVDs and Blu-rays included in the offering. Commenting on the move, md Christopher North said: “We know how important speed of delivery is to our Prime customers and we’ve been continuing to invest in our delivery network to offer even more fast delivery options. We are excited to launch our newest benefit for Prime members – free same-day delivery on one million items.  This is on top of all the other Prime benefits, like unlimited streaming of movies and music, unlimited photo storage and more.”
Geoblocking is dead. Long live geoblocking. Or at least that’s the view of one organisation which has seen the draft Copyright Framework report due to be published by the EU in December. The European Commission had, at one point, looked like it was going to try and allow citizens of any EU country access to films in other territories, essentially wiping out regional differences and threatening the whole European film distribution model. According to The Register, the EU has backtracked, and will instead try and set up a new pan-European search engine for finding films legally (like our very own FindAnyFilm, we’d wager). The report stated: ““The financing of new productions in the audiovisual sector relies largely on territorial licensing combined with territorial exclusivity granted to individual distributors or service providers. This is considered necessary by the audiovisual industry preserve sustainable financing, but can prevent service providers and distributors from providing ‘portability’ of services beyond one Member State or from responding to requests from other Member States.” 

We wanted to test this in a market where there was strong brand affinity. When you look at technology today … the app experience is, I’ll call it a 3D experience versus the 2D experience that linear television offers. very interested in taking content directly to consumers as a company. [Disney customers] typically buy through third parties. There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. We do great business with movie theatre chains and big-box retailers and multichannel distributors. But given the way the world is and what technology makes available … we have an opportunity to reach our consumers directly in a way that our competitors can’t come close to doing. So it is a competitive advantage and it is an opportunity that technology is providing us. And it’s something ultimately that you’ll see more of.”
Bob Iger on Disney Life launching in the UK and Europe and its plans
We’ve already covered off Spectre’s outstanding performance over its first week above, making any box office report – it was the only new entry apart from a Met Opera event screening of Tannhauser – somewhat redundant. Hotel Transylvania has now passed the £16 million mark, incidentally 
You wait ages for an Amy Winehouse film and 10 minutes after one storms the video charts, another one turns up. Yup, just as Asif Kapadia's Amy doc arrives on DVD (see above) plans are revealed for a biopic about the tragic songstress. In the frame to play the chanteuse? Noomi Rapace, no less...
It's all about the streaming when it comes to Hollywood news these days and the biggest story this week was about another forthcoming streaming title. In a story covered pretty much everywhere, Star Trek is set to return, with the series appearing on US TV network’s CBS due to air a new series through its All Access svod service. The new iteration will appear in January 2017. 
A new addition to our Albie’s YouTube channel, with another due to follow. And while we’re plugging our own stuff, who not check our website at…
Boycotted by the old bill, here’s more for the Taranteenies…
The Asian Star Wars trailer doing the rounds this week…
Let’s smash up the capital…
Alice, again…
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