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

It Was A Good Week For... Deadpool flying the flag for digital in the US…
It Was A Bad Week For… Physical formats, apparently, with rental worst off, altogugh at least one store has hit back …

It’s still there – Star Wars: The Force Awakens is, according to the Official Charts Company’s midweek listings, heading for its third consecutive week in the top slot, having shifted another 64,000 copies in the first few days of the week, double the amount of its closest rival, Universal’s latest Paramount distributed title, Daddy’s Home. The Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg starred is the high-test new entry in the midweeks at number two, ahead of Warner’s In The Heart Of The Sea at number three. Disney dominates both on physical formats – drafting around Captain America Civil War means there are a score of Marvel titles back in the charts, from Ant-Man at number four and Avengers Age Of Ultron at six – as well as at cinemas, where three of the top four films at the UK box office are Disney distributed. Other prominent movers and new entries include Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies at number 29 and The Timber at number 35. 
Big performer this week, aside from the aforementioned titles, was, of course, Line Of Duty, the corrupt cop thriller that has truly come into its own in its third outing, a fact evinced by the performance this week of the release, and assorted SKUs, released on RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn imprint. The release came on the back of the ongoing success of the series, one of 2016’s most talked about programmes. The final feature length episode drew more than 4 million viewers, a 20 per cent market share, and BBC2’s biggest drama audience for five years. More came from RLJ this week, as no less than five of the top 50 TV titles – 10 per cent – in the Official Charts Company midweek listings are Line of Duty related, with the overall chart featuring the series one to three box at number 17 and the solus third series at number 22. More good news came in the shape of a keenly timed announcement which revealed that the next series will air on BBC1, giving it an even higher profile, and accompanying sales, with the additional statement that a fifth season has been commissioned beyond this. Commenting on its success, RLJ’s joint head of marketing Helen Squire said: “With strong PR from Aim Publicity as well as a print and social media campaign we’re delighted that the series 3 DVD, which was released on Monday, is off to a flying start and heading towards a week 1 of 8,000 units. In fact Line of Duty is dominating this week’s chart with the five SKUs making up nearly 20 per cent of the TV Top 50. Sales are expected to continue for the foreseeable future with today’s announcement that series 4, due to start filming this summer, will move to BBC1 and a fifth series commission also confirmed. This has been an exciting and rewarding franchise to work on from the very beginning. Line Of Duty is just one of our fantastic TV releases in Q2 with Indian Summers series 2 later this month and The Tunnel Sabotage in June. We’re thrilled to have these titles join the likes of Broadchurch and The Fall in our pantheon of phenomenal TV product on DVD. ”

With TV drama proving as commercial a proposition as ever, it’s interesting to note that Arrow Films, a key player in this sector in recent years due to its phenomenal success with its Nordic Noir brand and titles, has this week unveiled a major new acquisition. The company has picked up the UK rights to the excellent Netflix series Narcos, moving beyond the Nordics and into central America. The series, produced by Gaumont Television, charts the inexorable rise of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar; the deal for physical rights to the series, slated for an August release, is Arrow Films’ biggest series acquisition thus far. Commenting on the release, the company’s acquisitions director Tom Stewart said: “Narcos is undoubtedly a bone-fide ‘water-cooler TV’ series that personifies the culture of compulsive boxset binge viewing and it will simply be a must own package for any self-respecting fan of international Television. We look forward to helping the show reach a wider UK audience ahead of the second series launch and are incredibly proud to be continuing our strong relationship with Gaumont, in what promises to be a thrilling ride ahead!”
The deal gives even more of an international flavour to Arrow Films’ ever-growing TV catalogue. The Raygun spoke further to the company’s marketing supremo Jon Sadler, who outlined some of its recent success and plans going forward. He said: “2016 has already been a great year for us for TV product after ending 2015 on such a high with The Bridge 3 and going straight into Trapped – which performed brilliantly and achieved well over 1 million viewers on average on BBC Four. We have bolstered our Nordic Noir portfolio also with four new series, most notably DR’s (The Killing & Borgen producers) Follow the Money – which we released last week, and Danish horror series Heartless, plus More4’s Thicker than Water (which finished its run on Thursday) and Blue Eyes (which plays episode seven on Friday). Also starting next week is the superb series Gomorrah, back for season 2 on Sky Atlantic on Weds at 10pm. Season 1 is one of the best reviewed series ever on Amazon and has been a strong seller for us and we will also be releasing a season 1 and 2 box set come the end of the transmission, alongside the standard DVD and Blu-ray. Currently on BBC Four in the coveted Saturday night peak slot is Hinterland season 2 – which we  release on May 30 – including the series in Welsh on a separate SKU and after that will be French crime series The Disappearance which is akin to The Killing and The Missing and will sit nicely alongside our other French series, Witnesses and Braquo. Narcos is clearly a gear-shift for us as a series and it will be great being able to introduce this new audience to our existing catalogue and related new releases. And then into the autumn we move into a thrilling new Swedish series in Modus, which is also on BBC Four.”
Sticking with Arrow, albeit this time its sister label Arrow Video, the company has this week branched out into the digital HD arena, launching a “whole host” of its titles for both digital HD rental and download via Amazon and iTunes. What’s more, its offering, which included an introductory sale offer of £5.99, included some of its impossible-to-find out of print titles (the ones currently going for a small fortune on Amazon Marketplace, ebay and the likes). Commenting on the launch, Arrow’s digital account manager Alex Anderson said: “With such a rich catalogue of titles, we’re delighted to offer existing fans of the label and new fans alike a chance to enjoy these classic and cult films. The launch will give customers an opportunity to consume content in a different way and is the natural next step for Arrow Video.”

Leicester City’s phenomenal success in winning the Premier League title could herald the arrival of one of the biggest selling end-of-season football DVD releases for years. The title, still being worked on, as, although they may have won the title, the season has yet to finish, will be released through Spirit, its md Robert Callow knows all about the potential for football season reviews, having worked at VCI as the company set the standard for releases during the 1990s. The release will arrive before Fathers’ Day and with the story having caught the attention of the nation, is set to sell beyond the East Midlands too. Commenting on the release, Spirit’s Callow said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with LCFC to release arguably the most amazing footballing story in recent sporting history. Early retail reaction suggests that the DVD result will mirror the phenomenal success the team had on the pitch!”
Want an idea of how big this could be? We spoke to HMV’s Leicester store, and that very afternoon (Friday, May 6) dummy sleeves had gone up in store and, within the first hour, there had been some 10 pre-orders. Store manager Andy Wilkinson said: “Potentially this is the biggest DVD release the store has ever had. There are 29,000 home fans at every game and this will be the perfect souvenir of the season. It is also released the week of Fathers’ Day and as I said to my son ‘you know what to get me this year’. We put the pre-awareness sleeves out today and took 10 orders in the first hour. We will start to raise awareness on social media and the Leicester forums (Bentleys Roof & Foxes Talk) over the weekend so expect interest to build over the coming weeks.”
Some interesting news from the US, as grown-up comic book hero Deadpool, released with a digital to physical window, the former arriving on April 29 ahead of the later’s May 10 bow, has become the most successful ever digital selling comic book hero, ousting some of Marvel’s more family friendly heroes along the way. Its 1 million downloads in its first week makes it Fox’s biggest ever and the fastest selling ever. Commenting on its success, Fox’s president and chief marketing officer for worldwide marketing Mary Daily (formerly, of course, at Fox here in the UK) said: “The consumer response to Deadpool has been unprecedented in theatres and now at home. In just one week, Digital HD transactions are reaching superhero levels.”
Deadpool is, of course, following a similar route to market in the UK, with its physical arriving on June 13, after its digital HD bow on June 4. And retailers here are gearing up for a similarly strong showing, following in the wake of a hugely successful release for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As we reported here, enjoyed its biggest ever day one and week one for the title, the first 24 hours eclipsing its previous best week one total. Looking forward to Deadpool, the company’s Simon Homent said: “Deadpool has gripped the attention of customers all through the pre-order window. In fact pre-orders so far are on a par with Star Wars, so we are bracing ourselves for results in line with what has been reported from the US. We see this very much as a digital ownership title, and expect our customers to enjoy watching it on their smart TVs time and time again.”

The news about Deadpool chimes, perhaps, with the research unveiled this week by Strategy Analytics, looking at future digital versus physical revenues. It suggested that streaming and downloads would overtake physical this year, the former accounting for £1.3 billion in revenue, the latter for less than the magic £1 billion mark (a total of £956 million, to be precise, a fall of 16.3 per cent). It would equate to a split of 58 per cent to 42 in favour of streaming and downloads, a decline of 10 per cent for DVD and Blu-ray. From next year, it continued, streaming would become the most popular method, accounting for more than half of revenues by 2021. It suggested that Netflix currently has 4.6 million users in the UK, while Amazon Prime has 2.5 million subscribers. Commenting on the research (which you can see here), Michael Goodman, Strategy Analytics’ digital media director, said: “Five years ago, DVDs represented 86 per cent of consumer spend on home video, in five years it will be less than 14 per cent, with DVD and Blu-ray rental virtually extinct. As online provides increasing ways to access films and box-sets, physical simply can’t compete. Although many people will always prefer a physical disc, retailers will have to decide whether it’s even viable to offer that format in five years’ time. Many won’t and with less high street players around, it will be online, ironically, that keeps DVDs on life support via e-commerce.”
Those rental figures were picked up by most who covered it too. But DVD rental is still a £50 million plus business in 2016 and, like retail DVD, is proving itself to be far more resilient than anyone else would have imagined. We spoke to one of our favourite rental stores, Snips Movies, in the Wirral, whose Dave Wain pens some great stuff over at Zombie Hamster (here he is on Blu-ray). And we loved the reply we got from him, outlining the problems facing traditional rental stores, but also highlighting the benefits they still have over the streaming model and offering up a passionate defence of the rental concept. “I see my competitors not to be digital downloads or online streaming,” he said, “but simply the awareness that we exist at all. In years gone by, the existence of rental stores was a given, and it was simply presumed that we were here, or rather each village or town would have one. Nowadays, it's the challenge of getting newcomers to the area to Google us to see where their local video store is. The presumption is there's simply none of us left. Every day is a case of banging the drum loud enough to get people onto the high street. It's a challenge, but persistence pays off. In-store meanwhile, new members join with a wide-eyed disbelief at such a seemingly well-kept secret. After years of being spoon-fed the narrative that Sky Store is the way forward, Netflix is the future, and Amazon Prime is indispensable, the notion that a bricks and mortar place exists that contains pretty much everything that those aforementioned three have, PLUS a lot that they don't, is a mind-melting concept for them. I have THREE-TIMES as many films as Netflix US, whose library of titles is gradually shrinking year by year. Everyone initially embraced the convenience of the streaming services, but now we're a few years in, their limitations are becoming more and more exposed. Granted, many of my customers will continue to pay their subscription fees to these multinational behemoth's, but they also realise that a trip to the video store as they pick up their takeaway and a bottle of wine, is an experience that simply can't be replicated with the sterile motioning of a remote control.”
Of course, the idea that streaming is overtaken DVDs certainly chimes with the narrative currently being used at most national newspapers – coverage of The Times, for example, had the headline “DVDs? Streaming is how we’re watching films at home”. The newspaper noted that “spending on DVDs will fall below £1 billion for the first time since 1994”, not such a giant feat when you consider that the format wasn’t introduced until four years after that date. While the Strategy Analytics forecasts are obviously a good story, the fact they match the “who still buys DVDs?” line trotted out by the media gives lazy journalists all they need to keep churning out the same line. Last week’s announcement by BASE alongside Disney et al about the record-breaking week one performance of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on DVD and Blu-ray didn’t seem to get the same prominence in the national press…

Mention of BASE and the press, leads us on to a correction, and we have been asked to point out that Universal’s total haul of nominations for the forthcoming BASE Awards does, of course, stand at 11. This includes one in the Marketing Campaign Of The Year For Film (over £15 million box office) for the Paramount title Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, one of the first to go through Universal for its physical release under the new arrangement between the studios. Full nominations here on our website. 
Meanwhile, with Daddy’s Home nestling near the top of the tree, Universal is busy preparing itself for another comedy release, albeit of a somewhat different nature. Dad’s Army, the big screen update on the classic homegrown sitcom property, sees an all-star cast lining up as the Walmington-on-Sea home guard, and the proximity of the story means the studio is having plenty of fun with the June 13 release. this includes, in addition to the above the line marketing, an exhibition showing off some of the costumes from the film in East Riding, as well as activity in the Dad;s Army Museum in Thetford, Norfolk. Universal has even tracked down an original Home Guard member for regional interviews. Oh, and journalists from the Daily Star Sunday, Choice and Calibre will even be going to Biggin Hill to fly authentic World War II aircraft for editorial purposes. Commenting on the release, Universal’s Vicki Davis said: “We’re really excited by the levels of consumer interest and retail excitement that have already been generated for Dad’s Army, even though we’re still a few weeks out from release – we’re so proud to be releasing the perfect British comedy choice for Father’s Day and to be connecting with fans of the show of all ages to help drive sales of this fantastic DVD and Blu-ray.”
We’re not normally one for online petitions, but we must admit, this one, (here which aims to get the site of the former Tower Records flagship London store, 1 Piccadilly (one of the the most desirable retail addresses in the world, we understand) marked by a blue plaque for it being of historic note. (We assume, of course, that it’s not purely because of the Shabba Ranks riot, a PA gone bad story we still dine out on.) This of course ties in neatly with the Universal release of All Things Must Pass, the US documentary looking at the rise and fall of Tower in the States. The title is due on May 16 and director Colin Hanks is in London next week to help promote the release as part of a PR blitz.

It’s one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a UK distributor, let alone the BFI’s video arm, offering up one of the most complete collections of a British director’s work and, according to the BFI’s head of video publishing Sam Dunn, something that involved “real archeology” in putting together. We are, of course, referring to the forthcoming BFI release of Alan Clarke at the BBC, a mammoth set pulling together the TV work of the great British director. It’s been eight years since the project was first mooted, a full 18 months since the BFI picked up the pace on pulling it together and, as Dunn told The Raygun during an interview about the package, a solid three months or so working on it in the run up to the June 6 bow. The Blu-ray edition of the box spans 13 discs (the DVD version is split across two volumes) , with 50 Clarke collaborators involved, including plenty of big names (Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Phil Davis) as well as crew. All made time for the boxset, such is the esteem within which they hold him. “He’s never really had the credit and recognition which he is due," said Dunn, “but this massive box set finally gives his work - all fully remastered for the very first time – the treatment it truly deserves.” The release comes off the back of a season at the BFI Southbank, and it’s worth noting, again, that it’s video publishing driving all the activity. Press is starting to build – there's a good piece in The Guardian here – and people who worked with Clarke are still discovering footage and passing it on to the BFI. Among the gems unearthed are a director’s cut of hooligan classic The Firm, with never before seen footage (also available as a souls release, as if Penda’s Fen) and a number of standalone dramas not seen since their transmission in the 1960s. “It’s the most ambitious project we’ve undertaken, and as far as director boxsets go, it’s one of the most extensive,” said Dunn. More on our website shortly…
The BFI’s annual anime weekend is returning to the Southbank over the first weekend in June, and marking a flurry of activity for prime UK exponent Manga. The event falls the weekend after the bi-annual MCM event, at which the label is a mainstay, and the Anime Weekend will also have the Manga imprint at its heart, helping mark the beginning of the label’s 25th anniversary celebrations. That’s right, Manga is this year 25 years old and the weekend will screen one of its seminal early releases, Ghost In The Shell, as part of its programme. Commenting on the event, Andrew Hewson from Animatsu, which looks after much of Manga’s activity, said: "We are very excited to be working so closely with the BFI to help celebrate Manga’s 25th anniversary. Over the last few years the BFI have been extremely supportive and collaborative in showcasing anime features which ordinarily does get much exposure on UK screens. It is fantastic that the celebrations will be kicking off with a special screening of the classic Ghost in the Shell, which was one of our first break out hits back in the early 90s. We have a few other cool celebratory ideas in mind which will take place throughout the year, so keep and eye out for more news in the coming weeks." 
We'll end our industry news with the bestlooking release of the year. Warner has been earning plaudits from critics for what is arguably one of the finest looking box sets we’ve seen for some time, the 75th anniversary edition of what ranks high on most critics’ lists worldwide as one of the finest films ever made – Citizen Kane. the sumptuous package features a slew of extras on the disc, but also, housed within the box itself, a raft of collectables, lobby cards, a book, storyboards, a souvenir programme and much more. Warner Bros head of catalogue Colin Thomas said: “Citizen Kane is a classic in every sense of the word and we really wanted to mark such a huge anniversary with an ultimate set that fans would love. With the Citizen Kane 75th Anniversary Blu-ray, not only have we given fans the re-mastered film, but also loads of extras and a  whole host of exciting collectables in beautiful and impactful packaging. We knew we’d succeeded when the final version was delivered to us and it caused quite a bit of excitement.”

"Scarlett is known for sitting on the sofa, but her sedentary lifestyle has really taken a toll on her figure. When she was asked if she wanted to do a DVD and lose weight, she jumped at the chance. Not only will it help her look even more stunning, it's bound to open up the door for more deals and endorsements, and they're the real money-makers for reality stars.”
Make way for Scarlett Moffatt, off of Gogglebox, the latest reality star from the north east ready to release her own fitness DVD. Quote from a "source" to the national press…
With almost £14.5 million in its first weekend, Captain America: Civil War keeps up the remarkable run of Marvel success since Disney took over the reins, while The Jungle Book at number two and Zootropolis at four means the studio dominates. Meanwhile, other new entries in the top 10 included Demolition ((£264,512), Son Of Saul (almost £180,000) and even cinema title Elektra: Met Opera (just under £175,000).
Latest film to streaming service TV series title? Dear White People, the Lionsgate-produced (released by Signature over here) feature which looked at a group of African American students and their travails at a predominantly white college… Also potentially eyeing an svod contract is a new take on the Blues Brothers, with an animated take on the adventures of the titular siblings Jake and Elwood. The series is being worked on, with no final destination set yet…
Speaking of which, and kicking off a round up of reboots and franchise news, the Final Destination brand is on its way back, a sixth is due… The revamped The Mummy franchise with Tom Cruise in the starring role, has received a further boost this week with the news that Russell Crowe might be joining the team for the monster outing… Meanwhile, the week’s other reboot news sees Space Jam being revitalised, with the sequel, er, Space Jam 2, is on the way, with LeBron James taking on the key basketball player role taken by Michael Jordan in the original…

The best home entertainment trailer for donkey’s, we reckon…
The Shallows looks pretty deep…
Beastie Boys in full effect…
And this week’s Red Band…
And on a slightly more serious note, more Moore…
To subscribe to The Raygun newsletter, please email
with subscribe in the subject matter

To unsubscribe, email with unsubscribe in the subject