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It Was A Good Week For... Deadpool, set for the third biggest start of the year…
It Was A Bad Week For… Another Game Of Thrones episode hits the pirate sites and Torrents ahead of transmission on TV…

And in the run up to Father’s Day – it’s Sunday June 19 and, dependent when you receive and read this, if you didn’t know that, it’s possibly to late to sort out something for the old man now –and retail was buzzing this week after a string of new releases and gifting opportunities helped give a lift to the market. As HMV’s Andy Anderson said: “Things have been a bit quieter than we’d have liked for the second quarter, but Father’s Day has come along and this week has been good, we’ve had a few titles over-performing, which is great.” He cited the likes of Deadpool, 13 Hours, Dad’s Army and Bone Tomahawk as being the stars among the new releases. “It proves that when the opportunity comes  along,” Anderson added, “a DVD is still the thing that people want to give as a gift.”
And so, what of Deadpool, the Merc with the Mouth, who finally arrived on physical formats this week after barnstorming experiences at theatrical and as a digital HD release too? Its sterling performance has continued through to DVD and Blu-ray too – the film has shifted around 250,000 units in its first few days on sale, according to the Official Charts Company’s midweek bulletin. It was boosted by Fox’s excellent campaign, which included TV, digital, social and outdoor advertising, as well as a bespoke Deadpool TV spot for Sky Store, s well as a photobomb takeover on iTunes, As discussed here last week, there was an Airstream touring the UK, poo emoji-style ice cream giveaways (seriously), a talent tour with Brit actor Ed Skrein and plenty of PR support. Media partnerships with Radio X, Virgin and The Lad Bible furthered the campaign and Fox praised the “awesome” grocery set-up. Commenting on its early success, Fox senior product manager Christina Metzler said: “We chose to approach our campaign just like the Deadpool character - unpredictable, irreverent, hilarious, and popping up in the strangest of places! Our audience has truly embraced the weird and wild and by leveraging events like the Euros and Father’s Day we’ve been able to have even more fun creatively.”
Another title in the frame after an impressive start is one of our favourite films of the year thus far, Bone Tomahawk, a Western horror starring Kurt Russell which appeared as a new entry at number seven in the Official Charts Company midweeks. The title was released by The Works through Elevation and has given the independent one of its best ever performances. Commenting on its success, The Works’ Ailsa Scott said: “There’s a lot more to come from Bone Tomahawk and with the terrific support we’ve received from everybody it’s well on its way to establishing itself as a must own.”

As if there wasn’t enough football on telly at the minute, what, with the Euro 2016 tournament in full flow, the end of season football DVDs arrived in stores this week, with Leicester City leading the charge. The full story of the team’s remarkable season is charted in the title released through Spirit and we spoke to HMV’s Leicester store about the activity surrounding the title this week. Manager Andy said: “We've had a decent first week's sales on the DVD. Despite this being a fairly quiet week so far, Euros and torrential rain, the DVD is already our biggest week one seller of the year so far. We are expecting good sales over the Fathers Day weekend. The public response has been great. There is still a real buzz around the city and people want to talk about the title win. Most of the conversations are either "I still can't believe we won it" or " I really hope Vardy, Kante, Mahrez stay for one more season”. In store we have displays on both floors using some bespoke graphics specific to the club and season. #fearless, #havingaparty, when you're smiling, dilly-ding dilly-dong & foxes never quit. We also have a window takeover with Nipper wearing a Leicester scarf.”
So back to those Official Charts Company midweek placings and Dad’s Army is off to a bright start too, shifting almost 100,000 pieces in its first week, putting it in the number two position – on any other week that kind of performance would be enough to put it in the top slot, but Deadpool’s 250,000 sees it outselling the rest of the top 10 and putting it on course to be the third biggest week one seller of the year, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre. The Revenant has sold another 50,000 this week, while 13 Hours – The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi, is new at number four. Bone Tomahawk is at number seven, as mentioned, The Finest Hours and X-Files Event Series are new at numbers 11 and 12, Point Break is at 16, Peaky Blinders at 24 and another title we’ve discussed here, LCFC Champions, is new at number 26. Drafting title of the week is Independence Day, back up to number 33 ahead of Resurgence…
Returning to Leicester and Screenbound is putting the finishing touches to its release strategy for a comedy feature filmed in and around the city, A Dozen Summers. The film is due out later in Q3, with the exact date being finalised as we write. The film has already picked up plenty of interest in the East Midlands and beyond, after premiering in Leicester, its tale of two 12-year-old sisters who hijack a film crew, narrator included, and make them make a film about the twins. And the girls’ real-life dad, Kenton Hall, stars as their father here too, as well as writing and directing the film. Commenting on the impending release, Screenbound’s Alan Byron said: “As a company based in Leicester, it's remarkable that the city has become both the destination for the Premier League Champions and the setting for a comedy about what it's really like to be twelve years old. A Dozen Summers has won children's festival awards the world over, and our enormous social media campaign has already seen it reach number 1 in Zavvi's pre-order chart - above Deadpool! With its director Kenton Hall and adult star - former Dr Who, Colin Baker - also set to do press awareness, Leicester really is the happening city of 2016.”

With another tranche of acquisitions unveiled last week (see The Raygun week ending June 11 for more), new productions (see story below) now shooting and on the way, and an award for marketing excellence from last week’s BASE event under its belt, what better time to pop into Signature’s London HQ for a chat about its Q3 line-up, both under the Signature banner and its new sister imprint and beyond. Into the third quarter and the first biggie to arrive is Norm Of The North, the animated tale that received a high profile theatrical release around half term earlier this year. “In the lead up to the summer holidays, Norm is perfectly positioned to be the must-have family release that week” said the company’s Emilie Barra. Signature is working again with some of its promotional partners from the cinema bow, including Sea Life, which is launching a new Polar Bear Experience. On the same day is pitch-black crime caper The Trust, starring Nic Cage and Elijah Wood. Elsewhere, its theatrical strategy is continuing, with the likes of The Colony (on July 1, with a DVD and Blu-ray to follow on August 22), with a high profile launch at the Edinburgh film festival and, as Barra noted: “We’ve banked lots of time with Emma Watson and she’s done plenty of interviews which will be launched close to release.” Precious Cargo, with a physical release on September 5 is an all out actioner starring Bruce Willis and, as Barra noted: “Willis is a huge name with recent home entertainment triumphs proof that he is still an action legend.” The end of August sees Kids In Love, starring Cara Delevigne and Will Poulter, this too will benefit from an Edinburgh world premiere – nominated in the Best of British category - as well as Glastonbury screenings ahead of its August theatrical and home entertainment bow. Another big genre title comes in the form of Cell, starring John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson and can boldly claim to be the only Stephen King story that features zombies at its core, it’s due on DVD in Q4 after a theatrical play on August 26. The horror continues in Q3 with SXSW celebrated title Hangman. Due for release on September 26 after receiving rave reviews at the celebrated genre fest earlier this year. Beyond that, Signature’s Q3 theatrical slate continues to impress with Daniel Radcliffe starring as an FBI operative going undercover with some right wing nasties in Imperium. 
On to this year’s big Signature development, the launch of its Precision Pictures imprint, targeting the non-theatrical sector with big name releases. Label manager Katie Hart said: “Precision has been received well by the market and the labels first releases are proof that there is still a hunger for high concept genre movies. Our Q3 slate is stronger than ever.: For Q3, these include the early August release of Killer Ink (“Miami Ink meets Hostel,” according to Katie Hart), and, beyond that, the August 15 release of sci-fi actioner Andron staring Alec Baldwin and Michelle Ryan (to name a few). Beyond that, Get Squirrely, an animated adventure which will benefit from a theatrical launch alongside an impressive cast featuring British legend John Cleese, will be launched on Aug 29. Into September, there’s The Hurt Business, a documentary looking at the world of MMA fighting from the acclaimed filmmakers behind Pumping Iron. Into September, there’s Viking Legacy, another entry into the ever-popular swordplay Norse genre which “Game of Throne fans will love” said Hart. Ahead of those, Precision are releasing animation feature Snow White Happily Ever After on July 11.  
So, what of the production news then? Well, Signature has this week announced two new projects in collaboration with Carnaby International. It is working on not one but two different sequels to its own hits. First yup is the third Rise Of The Footsoldier film, although this outing, The Beginning, is effectively a prequel to the shenanigans followed in the previous two films, looking at Pat Tate, with Craig Fairbrass starring as the tough guy. It will be released by Signature in the UK aryl in 2017, with Carnaby looking after worldwide sales. Commenting on the film, Signature’s Marc Goldberg said: “Everybody at Signature and Carnaby is delighted to be working together again on this iconic British franchise. Rise of the Footsoldier Part II was an enormous UK success selling over 45,000 physical units in its first week of release, beating multi-million pound box-office releases including Sinister 2 and The Transporter Refuelled and going on to win The Best British Movie at this year’s National Film Awards. The fantastic results proved that there is a hunger for quality British gangster movies and we are looking forward to bringing the next instalment to the UK in 2017.”
The other sequel from the Carnaby and Signature collaboration is another tale involving Reg and Ron, as the East End brothers return for a third Signature outing following Rise Of The Krays and Fall Of The Krays. Krays And The Mafia sees Simon Cotton and Kevin Leslie reprising their roles as the right wrong’uns. Carnaby’s Andy Loveday said: “Rise and Fall Of The Krays broke all home entertainment records in the UK and have gone on to sell over 200,000 DVDs and 200,000 digital transactions to date. The outstanding results are testament to the compelling story and quality filmmaking that will be delivered once again in Krays And The Mafia.” 

More forthcoming title news and while we were all recovering from our awards hangovers last week, the folks at Arrow Video and its sister Arrow Academy imprint were busy breaking the Internet by unveiling their September releases. The hottest ticket item, and the announcement that drew the most interest from horror fans, was news the UK (and US via the label’s operation in the States) will be getting the original The Hills Have Eyes in restored glory, complete with extra giving it the full Arrow Video treatment. This is supplemented  by more big names in the shape of Brian De Palma’s excellent Raising Cain and Joe Dante’s Matinee, as well as a brace from Russ Meyer (Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls and The Seven Minutes) and more horror in the shape of Slugs and Dead End Drive In. Meanwhile the equally revered arrow Academy imprint has a brace of marvellously packaged film noirs in the shape of The Glass Key and The Blue Dahlia. Commenting on the announcement, Arrow’s Louise Buckler said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the reaction to our jam-packed September schedule. Each and every title was greeted with fantastic feedback from fans on social media however the clear favourite was The Hills Have Eyes. Our limited edition deluxe set of Wes Craven’s 1977 masterpiece will be crammed with special features and include a brand new 4K restoration of the film which has been supervised by producer Peter Locke. In less than a week, 25 per cent of stock for The Hills Have Eyes has been pre-ordered and, if this momentum continues, the set is on track to sell out before release. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…”
More fallout from last week’s BASE Awards and the awards are now firmly in the cabinets and on the shelves of the winning companies, and we’ve got further comment from some of those. Congratulations then to Wilderness, a relative newcomer to the agency side of the business, which picked up Supplier Of The Year. The company’s Tom Jarvis said: “We are delighted to have been recognised as Supplier of the Year at this years British Association for Screen Entertainment Awards. This award caps off what has been an incredible first year in business. We are passionate about helping distributors communicate and engage with their audience online and our teams passion and expertise means we’ve been lucky enough to do that for some amazing clients over the last 12 months. I’d like to thank the whole team at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for their support and for nominating us for this prestige award. We’ve been delighted to work with them on some stand-out campaigns including Paper Towns, The Revenant and most recently Deadpool. We would also like to thank Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and our partners DnA PR who we’ve worked closely with on some incredibly exciting campaigns, and there’s plenty more to come. Congrats to all the winners of this years awards, we look forward to hopefully working with you all.” 
Sticking with BASE, and the organisation this week hosted its education day, The Digital Video Opportunity – Driving Growth In A Multi-Channel Sector, presented in partnership with Creative Skillset. The event saw more than 40 representatives from across the industry gathered to hear from other industries who had faced similar challenges to ours and find out how they resolved their problems. The event, put together with the help of course leader Nick Keegan, was deemed a huge success, with the findings reported back to BASE council and committees. Commenting on the day,  Liz Bales, chief executive, BASE, said: “We are very proud to have delivered the first BASE Education session to the industry, and that it was so well received by the breadth of our membership.  The speakers that attended the day, Mark Earls, Patrick Collister and Craig Elder, as well the team from Neutral Digital provided inspiring and aspirational insights from which delegates were able to draw from to aid in the critical category challenges to which they were asked to respond.  The quality of work that was generated by delegates in the afternoon sessions was first class and illustrates the talent that drives the industry on a day-to-day basis.  The response to the education session has been incredibly positive and we look forward to bringing future sessions to the industry.” One of the attendees, Paramount digital marketing manager Stuart Honnor said:“The BASE education session was a great new initiative bringing the category together to share learning and reflect upon the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.  The speakers were inspirational and encouraged us to think outside of the box and look to other industries for solutions.  It was a very interactive and engaging day which allowed us to think differently about how we develop strategies to drive digital and physical ownership.  Demystifying the former and reinvigorating the later. Thanks to Liz and the BASE team for organising the day and sign me up for the next session.”
Sky is taking on the likes of Netflix and Amazon by relaunching its film offering, rebranding Sky Movies into Sky Cinema, with the new offering kicking off on July 8. It is promising one new premiere every day, rather than the current four a week, with the first titles including Spectre and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. it includes a regular world cinema slot on Wednesday evenings, while the TV giant is trumpeting its exclusive titles, with 90 per cent of the top 50 films of 2015 all appearing exclusively on its service first. It is further highlighting its on demand offering, upping the content by 20 per cent to some 1,200 titles. Ian Lewis, director of Sky Cinema, Europe said: “With Sky Cinema we are giving customers an even closer to the cinema experience with enhanced picture and sound quality.   However, we know the heart of the service is great movies.  Customers want a breadth of the latest quality films to enjoy with the flexibility to watch whenever they want and on whatever device they choose. Sky Cinema builds on this commitment with even more premieres and instant access to an unrivalled library of the latest blockbusters and classic films. A better service needs a new name and Sky Cinema is about delivering the ultimate offering for movie fans everywhere.”  

“We are thrilled to welcome the iconic character of David Brent back to Netflix, as we were the home to the first digital deal for The Office, starring Ricky Gervais. Our existing collaborations across series, for Derek, and in film, with Special Correspondents have been fruitful, and it’s only fitting for us to have Ricky’s upcoming feature film available to as many of our viewers as possible.”
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos as the svod service announced it had picked up forthcoming Office-related film David Brent Life On The Road exclusively for international territories, including the US. eOne has retained the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, where the film is getting a full theatrical release…
Nice counter-programming saw Me Before You rise to number one at the UK box office, as anyone not watching football went for the romantic title, it has now taken almost £5 million at cinemas. The only new entries were further down the listing, with The Boss earning just shy of £600,000 and Mother’s Day more than £400,000…
The Sicario sequel may now actually be two sequels, with the follow-ups to one of the best films of the past 12 months concentrating on Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin’s characters. Stefano Sollimo, at the helm for the sequel, Soldado, hinted about the third, with the sequels likely being anthologies…
Not a week goes by without another big name being added to the already huge roster for Fast 8, with the latest announcement seeing none other than Helen Mirren joining the cast. She is said to be in negotiations for the film, and will join the regulars (Johnson, Diesel et al) as well as newbies Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron…
Following our epic live tweeting of the BASE Awards last week (one absentee said they were relying on our coverage), we’ve been watching the football, updating you on the odd news stories, putting up pictures of stuff we've been sent, of HMV Leicester's window display and more… Follow us on
More Brent…
Rob Zombie returns…
New animated film…
And here’s more animated adventures…
Already much talked about…
Noel Clarke and the gang are back…
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