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It Was A Good Week For... Spotlight won the battle of the Oscar nominated titles out this week…
It Was A Bad Week For… Netflix, Amazon and other svod operators should be providing 20 per cent local content, says EU commissioner…

22 million consumers throughout a year, buying £475.8 million worth of new release products on Blu-ray or DVD… yes, if it’s facts and figures like that you’re after, then it must be that yearbook time again, as BASE, formerly the BVA, this week unveiled its 2016 Yearbook, the first bearing its new name. As ever, it makes for a fascinating snapshot of where our industry is at, boasting contributions from every one who’s anyone in the video industry, with a wealth of commentary and facts and figures from the likes of Futuresource Consulting, GfK, IHS, Harris Interactive, Millward Brown and the Official Charts Company. Free to members, with further copies for sale, we’ll have a selection of some of the highlights on our website shortly, but in the meantime, here’s BASE chief executive Liz Bales n the launch. She said: “The past year has been an emboldening period for the industry and while there’s no doubt that the shape of our market is changing, fuelled by the consumer uptake of digital services, we currently remain in a market where physical product represents half of the £2.24 billion that consumers invested in the category in 2015.”
We've said a fond farewell to the sales team at eOne, some of our oldest pals in the business, and with Spotlight in the, ahem ,spotlight this week, released and at number one in the midweeks according to the Official Charts Company, Fox has this week been talking to The Raygun as it assumes the mantle of looking after the company’s sales and distribution. The deal officially starts on June 1, Fox is looking after replenishment for recent titles, May and June releases such as Bobby (more on that below), Trumbo and Spotlight (again, more below). The first major title to go through Fox will be the latest instalment in the Divergent series, Allegiant, and it will be ready for what promises to be a huge Q4 for eOne, including Steven Spielberg’s big Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG, Ricky Gervais’ David Brent: Life On The Road and Oasis doc Supersonic. Commenting on the deal, TCFHE md Robert Price said: “eOne share our passion and pride for bringing great home entertainment content to market and we’re absolutely delighted to start the rolling out of our sales and distribution partnership from June 1.”
And let’s stick with eOne for for the time being as, following on from its recent Oscar success, the company’s latest release, Spotlight, was in the, erm, spotlight this week. It took centre stage in the midweek charts according to the Official Charts Company’s regular bulletin, shifting 23,000 in its first week on sale. What’s more, the title was well ahead a raft of other new entries – the top four titles at the halfway stage are all titles released this week – selling a third more than its nearest rival, another awards-friendly title, The Big Short. It was interesting to note that some retailers, such as Sainsbury’s, worked the two titles closely alongside each other, with shared point of sale and adverts in, for example, Friday’s Evening Standard. Commenting on the success of Spotlight, eOne’s Tim Westbey said: “We're delighted to see Spotlight doing so well and topping the charts.”

Other new entries included, at three and four respectively, Dirty Grandpa and The Fifth Wave, the latter representing another strong performer for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment off the back of its sterling success with Lady In The Van. Commenting on its performance thus far, SPHE senior product manager Kate Jeremy said: ““This week fans of The 5th Wave were treated to both the movie release and The Last Star, the final book in Rick Yancey’s YA trilogy. Working closely with Penguin, our campaign has focused on building anticipation for ‘#WaverWeek’. We targeted core franchise fans entirely through social platforms with great success, seeing some of our highest ever engagement rates across Facebook and Instagram. We also recruited key influencers ahead of a #waverweek social watch-along party taking place on Friday night. The title has seen very strong sales throughout the week and we’re on track to exceed our targets on all formats.” It continues Sony’s strong 2016 thus far – Angry Birds is hovering around the top of the UK box office charts, with another family title, Goosebumps, due on DVD and Blu-ray next week. Jeremy added: “The Angry Birds Movie is off to a flying start at the box office, banking £5 million ahead of half term next week, which also see the release of our nostalgic family adventure Goosebumps, based on the hugely popular R. L. Stine books.”
Sticking with the Official Charts Company’s midweeks, and, outside of the top five complete with its Further down the listing, the martial arts happy amphibians make another entry, getting get ready quartet of new entries in the top four positions, and drafting activity sees the first of the rebooted the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise returning at number 24, while The Assassin, the martial arts arthouse crossover from Studiocanal, is a new entry at number 28, followed by the first series of The Durrells one place below it. CSI The Finale (eOne) completes the new entries in the upper echelons of the charts.  
Let’s rewind and also look at a title that performed admirably in its first full week on release, one we’d covered here previously, as 101 Films’ John Travolta revenge thriller I Am Wrath turned in a suitably aggressive fist seven days out of the blocks. Commenting on its performance, the company’s Andy Lyon said: “I Am Wrath has been a massive success both physically and digitally, our second largest physical week 1 yet as well as our fastest ever digital performer, peaking at Number 4 on I-tunes and Number 6 in the physical market.  We supported the release through targeted print advertising, PR and social media, social media being absolutely key to this titles success. This is the second time 101 Films has set the bar with a non theatrical release which followed the number one DTV movie in 2015 Left Behind. We are already working on our next major acquisition ‘Vengeance’ starring Nicolas Cage due very early 2017 which will be our next record breaking release.  We are very proud of our efforts at 101 and we will continue to invest in frontline commercial film for what can and is still an exciting market."

Back to eOne for the time being, as arguably the highest profile event of the week saw the company premiering its football documentary Bobby, looking at the life and times of the England and West Ham star Bobby Moore, at, among other venues, Wembley, ahead of its home entertainment bow on May 30, giving it the perfect lead into Father’s Day. It earned plenty of coverage, including a slot on ITV’s main evening news bulletin on Monday, no mean feat for a one-day theatrical title leading in to its home entertainment release. It all bodes well for next week and, as the company’s Tim Westbey said: “Bobby is well placed for a good result following great coverage from its Wembley premiere, and being timed to capitalise on both the Euros and Father’s Day.”
Dateline: Cannes. The industry was out in force for the annual tim festival and market. We weren’t in attendance this year, although we were there in spirit and, for editorial purposes, our old pal Nick Gibbs-McNeil was there, with some of his many hats on, not least representing agency What Is Bobo. He and Bobo founder Robyn Larkin have penned an article for us, as part of a wider round-up of the event for our website, it’ll be up shortly, but here’s a taster: “The festival was noticeably quieter this year as many regulars, particularly Americans, stayed away. The quietness did make life easier to move around the Croisette and marketplace, allowing us more time and access for meetings with the numerous sales agents and film makers and helped us arrive on time for meetings.”
Still in Cannes, and, as anyone who knows us well will testify, we’re huge Ken Loach fans, we greeted the news that his next feature film outing, I, Daniel Blake, scooped the Palme d’Or at this year’s festival, giving the much loved director his second top prize at the festival (the first was 10 years ago, for The Wind That Shakes The Barley). And, in keeping with the theme of this week’s newsletter, UK rights for the title rest with eOne. Commenting on the film, eOne’s Tim Westbey, again, said: “We're thrilled with the response to what is a truly special film and look forward to bringing it to UK audiences.”
Loach’s return to the spotlight is timely for at least two other suppliers too. It was serendipitous for documentary specialist Dogwoof, which is releasing Louise Osmond's Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach in cinemas and on demand from June 3 ahead of a DVD release on June 27. The theatrical run will also be supported by an innovative Pay What You Can scheme in participating cinemas on Sunday June 5. Commenting on the release, Dogwoof's Oli Harbottle said: “Ken's celebrated documentary The Spirit of '45 was such a hit for us back in 2013 that we jumped at the opportunity to get on board with Versus. In partnership with the BFI, we hope to do Ken justice with our pioneering 'Pay What You Can' screenings on Sunday to ensure that Louise's superb film is made available to as big an audience as possible."
More Loach business: there’s another on the way from the great man too, as Studiocanal readies itself for the release of an early Loach in the shape of Poor Cow, his first feature film as he made the transition from TV to the big screen. A theatrical bow in June will be followed by a Blu-ray and DVD release the following month, with Loach himself working on it. Commenting on the release, Studiocanal’s Kristin Ryan said: “We’re delighted to be releasing a restored version of Ken Loach’s first feature film, Poor Cow in cinemas on June 23 and on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital in July. The grade has been overseen by Ken and he’ll be fully supporting our release. As one of the key figures in the social realism film movement and at a time when his message and work is more important than ever, it’s an ideal opportunity to celebrate his long and illustrious career with this re-release.”

We’ve also been talking to Studiocanal about its forthcoming Q3 slate too, and, as the company’s Kristin Ryan noted: “With a diverse line up from big box office actioners to quality family entertainment, a great new TV property and strong DTV offerings, Q3 is another strong quarter for us.” July sees Tom Hiddleston (“arguably one of the the hottest properties right now,” said Ryan) arriving in Ben Wheatley's “spectacular” High Rise, on the back of its high profile £2 million box office earning theatrical release. As Ryan said: “We expect to over-convert based on both Ben's loyal fanbase and Tom's growing popularity following his starring role in The Night Manager.” The next month sees another Bond candidate, Idris Elba, turning up in Bastille Day, which, as Ryan said, is “a solid action packed ride with a great star turn from Elba and includes some truly brilliantly staged action sequences”. August also has another Cannes biggie, last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Dheepan, fro Jacques Audiard, the man behind such art house biggies as Rust And Bone and A Prophet. September sees more Night Manager-related goodness in the shape of another Le Carre adaptation, Our Kind Of Traitor, starring Ewan MacGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Damian Lewis. Its family slate is, as the company noted, “incredibly strong” with Robinson Crusoe, based on the classic book with plenty of animal characters joining in, leading the chafe in September. It is also going back into the Studio Ghibli vaults for August release Only Yesterday, dubbed into English at last with Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and Dev Patel  (Slumdog Millionaire) providing the voices. DTV fare includes disaster epic The Wave, (“featuring incredible special effects,” Kristin Ryan said, “the film puts Hollywood disaster movies to shame”) and horror anthology Southbound, from the makers of V/H/S, released in July through Studiocanal’s Horror Vault imprint. Studiocanal continues to strengthen its TV slate too this quarter’s biggie is Sky 1 series The Five, from Red Productions, the team behind high quality TV including Happy Valley and Scott & Bailey and written by top crime writer Harlan Coben (Tell No One). As Ryan said: “It’s a tense 10 parter with twists and turns that keep you guessing right through to the finale.” And it wouldn’t be a Studiocanal quarter without restored classics, including the aforementioned Poor Cow, as well as John Schlesinger’s A Kind of Loving and anniversary editions of the seminal Highlander and Gary Oldman starrer Sid & Nancy, which also ties in with this summer’s punk activity too. 
Back to Cannes and acquisition news is still filtering through, with more on the way too. take, for example, Arrow Films, which has picked up the UK rights to Norwegian documentary Magnus, which follows eponymous chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen, who at the tender age of 13 decided he would become world champion at the sport… Commenting on the news, Arrow’s Tom Stewart said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our long relationship with our friends at TrustNordisk to bring such an amazing human triumph story that will truly fascinate both the millions who love the game and a whole new audience who will discover the incredible world of chess at the highest level.” Head of Sales at TrustNordisk, Susan Wendt added: “We are happy to have Arrow on board for MAGNUS and I am sure that they will do a great job to create awareness of the fascinating and unique talent of Magnus.” The film is slated for a UK release towards the end of 2016 or early next year.
And lo, it came to pass, that scores and scores of comic book and genre film fans, many of them dressed up in costume, did descend upon the Excel centre in the East End of London, for the bi-annual event that is MCM, the pioneering comic convention. Thousands are trooping down to the Royal Docks for the event, with, once again, some key labels and distributors taking stands and pushing their wares over three days of the Bank Holiday weekend. Manga has been one of the chief exhibitors and supporters of the show since its inception and are there once again, working with Animatsu. Here’s marketing manager Andrew Hewson on its planned activity: ”So here we are again, MCM London Comic Con is upon us and we're very excited, because this time our presence is going to be completely different to any of the previous shows. We have a brand new area with a dedicated stage, where fans can perform all their favourite anime theme songs, karaoke style. The stage will also be used to promote all of our upcoming releases coming out in Q3. We have the huge theatrical hit, Laser Team which in its opening week did a massive £250,000 at the UK BO with minimal P&A spend behind it. We also have the popular live action Attack On Titan movies, both of which will be coming out in a limited edition Steelbooks. Another high profile title is the martial arts fantasy film, Monster Hunt - this grossed over a billion dollars at the Chinese BO and we have high hopes for it in the UK. On Saturday we will be hosting our own panel where we will be showing exclusives trailers, announcing all our latest acquisitions for the rest of the year/beginning of 2017 followed by a Q&A. We had such a successful beginning to 2016 and we hope this continues throughout the the year."

Some forthcoming release news now and, as well as the aforementioned Goosebumps (see above) there’s more for the family with the release of Capture The Flag through Universal. The film is being backed by a campaign targeting the four to nine-year-old target market and their parents, with TV advertising, takeovers at Venatus  and PR and social media elements during half-term week, including activity sheets, working with parent bloggers, and sending out space party gift packs. Universal product manager Emma Havens said: “Capture the Flag is a really heart-warming and fun family film which we have been able to draw upon within our campaign.”
And staying with Universal, albeit with one not necessarily suitable for pre-teen audiences, is Ride Along 2, featuring more comedy hi-jinks from Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Marketing support from Universal includes vod, pre-roll and video billboards, enabling the major to highlight the comedy elements of the film, while there are innovative ideas in the shape of tap to listen videos and a 3D shaking element too. Universal product manager Emma Haven, again, said: ““It has been a lot of fun working on the Ride Along 2 campaign, it is a hilarious sequel showcasing the amazing comedic duo of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube at their best.”
On to independent fare and, and out next week from Soda, is a film we’ve already mentioned here, Rams. It’s one of the more unusual titles you’ll see this year, but its strong theatrical performance has shown that, unlikely as it may sound, this dark Icelandic comedy drama about sheep farming has got commercial props. Fopp has selected it as its Film of the Month and, as anyone who follows us on Twitter will have noticed, it looks a treat both in terms of the sleeve and the moving menu. Commenting on the release, Soda’s Louise Rae said: “We're delighted to be partnering with Fopp on Rams, with this cinematic gem being absolutely perfect for their audience. Those who fell in love with the film in cinemas and on premium VOD will be wanting to pick themselves up a copy to keep, and anybody who hasn't seen it yet is just a fan in the making!" 

Picturehouse Entertainment is heading down the digital only route for its next release, The Absent One. The film, which follows on from The Keeper Of Lost Causes, had one of the biggest opening weeks at the Danish Box Office on its initial release in its native country, and is being released here in the UK on digital on May 30. It marks the latest release in Picturehouse Entertainment’s growing roster of releases, and comes in the wake of its UK Theatrical release earlier this year. Commenting on the release the company’s own Ollie Charles said: "Following the success we had with The Keeper of Lost Causes, we’re really excited about the Digital release of  The Absent One next week. It’s a riveting film and fans of Jussi Adler-Olsen, on whose books the films are based, won’t be disappointed. We’ve been working closely with the publishers around the release and are co-promoting both the books and films across a range of outlets as well as our own channels. For anyone that has enjoyed the big screen adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s or Jo Nesbo’s work but has not come across Adler-Olsen, now is the perfect time to catch up on the thrilling world of the Department Q novels and the gripping films they’ve inspired.”
Another week, another new operator hoves into view, with the wonderfully named Cannibal Films launching its first film Tear Me Apart with a premiere at The Genesis cinema in Whitechapel, east London, with a vod release the next day on its own website, with more platforms and packages due to b unveiled in the near future. As its name suggests, Tear Me Apart is a cannibal-based flick, albeit one with a romcom theme too. Alex Lightman, the director of the film and a co-director of Cannibal Films, said: “"Tear Me Apart was never just about making one film, it has always been about launching our filmmaking careers. It’s about making the first of many films and showing just what we could do with a team of dedicated and talented people who are passionate about having a sustainable career within the film industry. With the advent of VOD being more readily available for the independent filmmaker, we’re delighted to say that we're poised for making our dream a reality. The ability to distribute our movie and connect directly with fans online, especially in this genre, is something that a VOD release lends itself to beautifully. We really are thrilled to be sharing our debut with the world on June 17."
As we’ve discussed here before, labels are finding increasingly smart ways to help launch ambitious projects and crowd funding efforts are one of the more popular ways. Latest imprint to embark on such an escapade is 88 Films, the horror specialist which wanted to bring four cassia Italian genre titles to market. So it took to Indiegogo, setting a sliding scale of targets, starting at £10,000, for the first film, Absurd, to get a 2k restoration and the film treatment, with another film making its way to Blu-ray at each £10,000 hurdle up to the final one of £40,000. Other films slated include Massacre In Dinosaur Valley, Beyond The Darkness and Aenigma, anyone contributing or pledging receives assorted perks or copies of the film. So far, in little more than a week, its total has topped the £26,000 mark, no mean feat. Commenting on the initiative, 88 Films Richard said: “Genre fans are always (rightly) concerned about quality and we’re always looking to release as good a product as we can so when the interest is there to remaster a title its a mutually beneficial way for us to go about it. We get the funds up front to carry out the work so the risk is greatly reduced and the customer gets a cherished title looking amazing on blu-ray and also some extra perks for paying up front essentially. So really it’s win-win and is something we hope to do a lot more of in the future. Also i’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, we’re going to produce some stunning looking masters for you.” You can see it here

"The way we watch TV or videos may have changed, but our values don’t."
Gunther Oettinger, EU commissioner for the digital economy, on plans to force the likes of Netflix and Amazon to air 20 per cent of locally produced content, ads well as have better age guidelines. 
X-Men: Apocalypse is the latest superhero title to top the box office charts, with £7.3 million in its opening weekend, other new entries in the UK theatrical top 10 include A Hologram For The King (just under £380,000) and Thomas & Friends: The Great Race (£147,617). 
Horror aficionados were delighted to see news this week that the king of the slasher film, John Carpenter is back on board with the franchise that he effectively created, Halloween. It will also see upstart horror outfit Blumhouse teaming with Miramax, giving it further oomph. Carpenter said: “38 years after the original Halloween, I’m going to help to try to make the 10th sequel the scariest of them all.”
Not quite movies, but it’s worth noting that Amazon has unveiled its new pilot season for its Prime Video service, the concept has already helped give birth to the likes of Transparent and Man In The High Castle. New titles include a new take on F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon, The Interestings, itself based on a bestseller and a raft of children’s product. The public will get to have a say in which of the pilots are made into TV series and as the company’s vp for its studio arm Roy Price said: “We’re focused on bringing customers compelling, must-see TV and we accomplish this by going directly to them for input. Our process has proven to work time and time again. Their feedback has helped create series that have become fan favourites among critics and customers.”
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Wahlberg on the way…
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