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It was a good week for... Get set for Minions fever…
It Was A Bad Week For… The humble Betamax, with SOny announcing that it is no longer selling the cassettes still used in some cameras… 
We’ll start, as we often do, with a look at what’s been selling this week and it’s been a good week for Fox, with its new release Spy shifting some 45,000 units in its first few days on sale, putting it comfortably in the number one slot in the Official Charts Company’s midweek bulletin, ahead of Frozen Fever, Disney’s short spin-off from its mega-blockbuster. It’s a double whammy for Spy, the exclusive SKU pairing it with The Heat is also number 10 in the Official Charts Company’s midweeks. Other new entries include Ronaldo and Better Call Saul Season One, from Universal and SPHE respectively. Commenting on Spy’s week one performance thus far, Fox’s Robert Price said: “We are delighted with the performance of Spy this week and we’re pleased to be tracking ahead of forecast both physically and digitally. November is a stronger month for comedy releases than October so we held the release a little to leverage a higher conversion and we released the ‘extended cut’ trade-wide with refreshed creative to illustrate and amplify the strong British cast. The marketing campaign included an innovative and sustained social media campaign and we’ve successfully piggy-backed on the pull of Bond in cinemas to target people who’d viewed the film and those who’ve engaged with content online.”
Next week’s big release is, of course, Universal’s Minions and those despicable yet loveable creatures have been busy on digital HD formats this week as an early, exclusive release across assorted platforms. And they’ve certainly been making their marks too, with one vod operator,, saying that it had enjoyed its biggest ever opening from a family title. The company’s Simon Homent told The Raygun: “Minions has been hugely popular with our customers in the UK and Ireland and is our biggest ever week 1 for a kids title. It was a phenomenal success on pre-order and the huge marketing support we gave it across smart TVs and in our various marketing channels has really paid off. We are looking forward to it dominating our chart through the rest of Q4.”
Sticking with Minions and Universal’s marketing has well and truly kicked into gear this week. Anyone who watches any children’s TV channel (yes, that’s us) can’t have failed to miss its digital and next week’s physical release, thanks to sponsorship of children’s TV programming. It’s not just that either – the campaign is estimated to reach a whopping 91.5 per cent of all housewives and children an average of 7.3 times, with TV, print, outdoor and digital advertising. The digital campaign through Facebook an d Twitter will deliver some 8 million impressions. And there’s more too – a Minions Mall tour throughout November and December will bee seen by 6.2 million people across six different Christmas grottos, with a four-week mall advertising takeover too. There are partnerships and cross-promotions with eight different partners and, in something of a first, Minions will be the first DVD ever advertised on Piccadilly One’s world famous outdoor signs above Piccadilly Circus. And, as we write this, some 8,500 branded pieces of Minions pos will be set up in new accounts and non-traditional retailers, with blanket coverage across traditional outlets too. Primark will have its biggest ever new release set-up for a home entertainment title. Commenting on the release, Universal’s Poonam Chudasama said: “Whilst the minions maybe small, the size of the film and brand is just enormous. There is so much love out there for the minions from adults to children alike. Working on the release has been incredibly enjoyable -  I’m looking forward to seeing the campaign in action this coming Monday.”
Staying briefly with Universal and following the news we revealed here recently that sales director Paul Ludlam is relocating to Los Angeles to take on a new role for the company, and the studio has this week announced that Martin Nichols is being promoted to the role of sales director for Universal Pictures, UK & Ireland. He will report directly to md Ian Foster, taking up his new role officially on December 1. Ludlam is heading to LA to take on the the newly-created position of svp, strategic partnerships at Universal’s HQ. 

More job news and it’s as good a place as any to announce that a former Universal staffer, Emilie Barra, most recently at Studiocanal, has this week taken up a new position as senior product manager at Signature. Barra, who has most recently worked on hits such as Robocop and Shaun The Sheep, will work alongside Signature’s head of marketing Claire Loewenthal. She’ll be working on forthcoming titles such as Daniel Radcliffe starred Imperium and another Harry Potter alumnus Emma Watson in Colonia. Commenting on the appointment, Loewenthal said: “We are delighted and extremely proud to have Emilie join the team. Her enthusiasm, professionalism and experience in launching iconic films in the market will really help anchor Signature’s ambitions to grow the company further in 2016. Having worked at both Universal and Studiocanal not only does Emilie have remarkable industry knowledge, fantastic relationships she also has huge amount of respect and regard from her peers.” Barra added: “I’m very excited to be joining Signature this week. I have been observing Signature’s meteoric rise since it’s creation and count myself proud to now be a part of the marketing team here. I can’t wait to get started on what will prove to an awesome 2016 slate and be able to bring to the table my breadth of experience across new release film, special interest and catalogue.”
One Signature title worth keeping an eye on, certainly if the debut of its trailer is anything to go by, is Rise Of The Footsoldier Part II. How do we know that? Well, within two days of going live through bloke website, the sequel to the exploits of hooligan turned fully flexed gangster Carlton Leach, had ratcheted up a ridicules amount of views, as Claire Loewenthal explained: “With our marketing plans in full throttle, we recently launched the official trailer with phenomenal pickup – resulting in over 2 million views in just 48 hours. We are launching the film theatrically in targeted independent sites two weeks before home-entertainment and will be hosting the world premiere on December 10th including a live Q&A with Ricci Harnett and Carlton Leach himself. We have been equally enthused with the excitement met by our customers on our imminent release. With superb set up across all physical and digital outlets, Rise Of The Footsoldier Part II is on track to be one of the biggest releases in Signature history.” See our Trailers Of The week section below to have a butcher’s at the homegrown hit…
Some other recent success stories and last week we noted that Arrow Video’s Hellraiser had sold out, this time round we’re happy to report that another premium priced, sumptuously packaged, carefully put together title from an independent is doing equally well, with Odeon Entertainment’s Doctor Terror’s House Of Horrors shaping up to sell out of its initial 4,000 Blu-ray Steelbook run in its first week of release. The 1965 Amicus horror has been newly restored and features a new documentary from Nucleus Films’ Jake West featuring, among others, Reece Shearsmith and author Jonathan Rigby. Commenting on its success, Odeon md Alan Byron said: “In these days of declining physical sales, it’s great to prove that people will still buy full-price Blu-ray Steelbooks if enough effort is put into the quality of the film’s presentation and the graphic design of the packaging. To effectively sell-out in the first week of release is a great start to the business end of the year.”

Moving back to and the company has bolstered its offering of independent films after inking a new deal with Fusion Media Sales. The deal will see titles such as My Skinny Sister and I Survived A Zombie Holocaust to its slate of new releases, with catalogue titles, such as Roseville and Irish film Invoked covered under the deal too. Commenting on the deal, European content director Simon Homent said: “Our customers tell us that they love our selection of curated local independent movies as much as Hollywood movies. We believe that Fusion Media Sales can be an important content provider to bring strong local content to our platform. We very much look forward to working with Murray and the team to broaden the distribution of these great movies to customers across the UK and Ireland." Fusion’s Murray Dibbs added: “We are really pleased to be launching our first titles with for the UK and Ireland from December. They have a great curated slate of independent films, and with strong marketing campaigns that are really growing the service, bringing great content to UK audiences.”


 Last week’s newsletter briefly touched on a big Daily Mirror story talking about how Cliff Richard was heading back to the top of the charts for the Christmas number one slot, the music DVD listings, that is, with his 75th birthday celebration live release. We asked Spirit’s Robert Callow for a comment about the return of the perennial pop youngster. He said: “The last time that Cliff Richard performed on his birthday he was 18, it's fair to say that  57 years later at The Royal Albert Hall on his 75th birthday and in front of his adoring fans and celebrity friends Cliff demonstrated an absolutely stunning showcase in the art of live performance. A surprise interruption for a celebrity led tribute and a rousing chorus of happy birthday led by Olivia Newton John just added to the most incredible atmosphere. This DVD captures perfectly  an absolutely extraordinary evening that every Cliff fan will want to see. The Spirit team is as ever very grateful for the most amazing retail support and we will be doing all we can to drive sales with a highly targeted TV campaign from release through to Christmas.”

Spirit is, of course, looking after the physical side of 4DVD’s business these days, with the label handling its own digital offering, and both were buoyed to see the huge noise this week surrounding the return of one of the imprint’s mainstays throughout its history, Peep Show, for its ninth and final outing. As well as Peep Show, due on December 26, Channel 4 has this week started heavily trailing a more recent comedy hit, Toast Of London, with the third series of this cult hit (and, as in Peep Show, a complete series boxset as well) arriving on the same date. Commenting on the two releases, Channel 4’s Karla Berry said: “Awareness is high and there is much excitement for the highly anticipated ninth and final series of Peep Show, you can’t escape the publicity and pre-awareness marketing which is what Channel 4 do best when launching our landmark series. Like Peep Show, Toast of London has become a word-of-mouth hit growing in popularity with each series, and gaining critical acclaim as well as winning a British Comedy Award, BAFTA and much coveted Rose D’Or for Best Sitcom. The new series launches next week in the slot after Peep Show and features a host of high-profile stars including Jon Hamm, Paul Whitehouse, Timothy West, Brian Blessed and Bob Mortimer. Both superbly original and very funny sitcoms, Peep Show and Toast of London have a dedicated fan base who will want to own these gems within the Channel 4 catalogue.”

Hot on the heels of Doc Martin Series 7, the delightfully odd comic drama which has delivered solid ratings for ITV and continued great sales on DVD for the Acorn label of RLJ Entertainment, comes another supremely British creation that is picking up awards and much, much more. Currently airing for its second series on BBC, picking up some glowing reviews and great word of mouth (“i
t’s so beautifully and understatedly performed, and observed, and true” said The Guardian) is the rather wonderful Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones. Crook has been doing some sterling PR work for the programme, his revelation that he’d rather do this gentle comedy about metal detector fans than any Hollywood blockbuster has drawn viewers to the programme, as well as earning it plenty of column inches. RLJ’s Acorn imprint will be releasing the second series on December 7, after the success of the first. Joint head of marketing Gareth Brown said: “Working with Mackenzie who is writer, director and star of the series and his team has been a great experience. They allowed us access to filming, cast and crew for a behind the scenes feature that’s included on the DVD release and proves a great opportunity for viewers to get to know the cast.  Mackenzie’s support for our PR efforts led by Debbie Murray of Aim Publicity has been invaluable.” Stuart Shaw, md of RLJE International said: “Detectorists has been one of the real treasures of the Acorn label, digging deep for sales and coming up with gold. We’re thrilled to present series two and are greatly looking forward to the forthcoming Christmas Special which will air in the festive season.”


Back to 4DVD and one consistent comedy seller for them in recent years in the stand-up arena has been Jimmy Carr. But it seems as if the comic has jumped ship and is heading off to Netflix. In a series of tweets this week, the Eight Out Of 10 Cats host and panel show regular revealed that “DVD is dead, long live Netflix”, announcing his live show was being filmed to air through the svod service. The tweets stated: “Thanks to everyone who's bought my DVDs over the years – sadly it's the end of an era, there’s no DVD this Xmas. But that's not all folks… Pleased to announce I'm taping a Netflix Original Comedy Special this weekend (DVD is dead,long live Netflix). Jimmy Carr's Netflix Original Stand-Up Comedy Special is coming soon.” And, he added, getting the plug in for another Netflix show, a seeming contractual obligation for anyone who signs on the dotted line for an svod deal: “My new Netflix Original Comedy Special means you'll have something to cheer you up once you finish Narcos (life feels empty now it's over).”  Now, far be it from us to comment on what he does, but it felt a bit snide seeing as he’s made such a fortune off his previous DVD releases, to bite the hand that once fed him – we won’t be buying him any DVDs for Christmas, that’s for sure…

Sticking with the world of the comedy DVD, and Monday November 16 sees the release of the debut live outing for hugely controversial comic Dapper Laughs, aka Daniel O’Reilly, the stand up who entered a storm last year for some of his more outrageous gags, retired and then returned to the stage all within the space of a few weeks. Platform Entertainment has, as we’ve discussed here before, signed the comic and has embarked on a PR campaign that has seen Dapper Laughs’ rehabilitation continue in a series of high profile interviews. Release date has been declared National Get Moist Day and, using the hashtag #getmoistday across assorted social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on), he’s encouraging fans to post pictures and details of how they’re celebrating the release. Moist is, of course, one of his more choice catchphrases. Commenting on the release, Platform’s Charles Fotheringham said: “Dapper Laughs' debut stand-up release is unleashed on DVD and on digital on Monday giving his huge army of fans of the opportunity to take home a piece of this controversial comedian. An Internet sensation, he has a huge following across the various social media platforms so much of our campaign will be focused online. In addition, to recent features in both The Sunday Times and The Times on Saturday, the release will be supported with in depth interviews and features across mainstream media channels. Using one of Dapper Laugh's popular catchphrases 'proper moist', release day will be National Get Moist Day.”

While other Manchester United stars and others were in London for some premiere or other, United and England star Wayne Rooney chose instead to stay in Manchester as the giants of wrestling from the WWE headed to the city as part of their UK tour. His beef with British WWE superstar Wade Barrett hit the headlines, giving loads of coverage to the organisation. Here’s Fremantle’s Ken Law on the positive benefits the grapplers’ visit to these shores has on WWE DVD andBlu-ray releases: “The November WWE Live Tour is always a great pre-Christmas boost for our DVD and Blu-ray sales. More than 100,000 fans get to see their WWE heroes performing live and there are numerous in-store signings and PAs happening in every city where the tour lands. Not only that, when stories such as the Wade vs. Wayne slap hit social media and news sites, WWE crosses over to the mainstream and suddenly everyone is talking about wrestling. Not only that, after a two year absence, the Undertaker returned to the UK making an appearance at the TV filming of RAW and SmackDown in Manchester. I was there and the place went absolutely crazy. We have an Undertaker Limited Edition Coffin Box Set out on November 23 and with that boost, we’ve now pre-sold every single copy two weeks before its release date. We love it when WWE come to town."


 Diary date: we know we’re wishing our lives away (Q4’s not out of the way yet, we’re moving through Q1 presentations and more), but here’s something for early in the summer of 2016. Following its successful move to a new venue and with a fresh new outlook, the BVA has announced that next year’s awards event will take place at the aforementioned new home, Tobacco Dock, in Wapping, east London, on June 9 2016. It’s a Thursday, so you may want to book the next day off now too. Tickets are on sale now, priced at £240 plus VAT per person for BVA members and £255 plus VAT for non-members. Entry forms will be available on the BVA’s site from December, with the deadline arriving on February 19 next year. For more info, contact Commenting on the event, BVA chief executive Liz Bales said: “The support from the video industry for the BVA Awards has been spectacular, the enthusiasm and the appetite from across the industry to come together and celebrate the successes that push our £2 billion category forward  and showcase the impressive creativity and innovation in this vibrant sector is incredible. The BVA Awards 2016 will build on the successful foundations of this year’s awards and bring an unforgettable evening of celebration and recognition of this remarkable industry to Tobacco Dock.”

Sticking with the BVA, and as regular readers will have noted, we’ve been working with the BVA in a bid to engage independent labels with the trade body. And after one date was shelved, due to AFM attendees still being in California sunning themselves, sorry, we mean negotiating high profile deals, we’re happy to confirm we’ll be jointly hosting an event for independent labels with the BVA at a venue to be confirmed (in the West End of London) on Tuesday November 24. We’ve got around 10 different independents already committed to attending the meeting, which will see the BVA outlining to indies the ways they can forge closer links and benefits of working together in an ever-changing industry. And, of course, as well as hearing about plans that can improve your business, there’s also the social aspect too… As the BVA’s Liz Bales said: ““The UK video sector has been in a state of consistent change for many years and as audiences continue to migrate online, the pace of that change is accelerating. Now more than ever collaboration is key to realising growth in the category, operating as the trade organisation representing the industry, the BVA want to ensure that all distributers, regardless of size and scale, have the opportunity to leverage the collective insight and strength of the category and benefit from the advantages that joint working can bring.  I’m really looking forward to meeting with everyone on November 24 to explore future opportunities to work together and collectively help drive the category.” For more details on the event and to sign up, email

News from and the site which directs UK consumers to legal ways to watch films and TV at cinemas, on disc and through digital services has signed up another retailer to its ever expanding database. Sky Store is the 12th retailer to join the site, on the back of its hugely successful Buy & Keep launch. It now means that FindAnyFilm now covers purchase options from retailers taking in 95 per cent of the digital market. Sky Store director Simon Creasey said: “We are focussed on enabling our customers to access and consume world leading content whenever and wherever they want, partnering with FindAnyFilm allows Sky Store to not only showcase content on a different platform it also brings the service directly to users outside of the immediate Sky eco-system. This means Sky and non-Sky account holders are able to find films to watch instantly on the TV and on their devices, as well as having the disc delivered directly to their door as part of Sky Buy & Keep. Sky Store offers people a complete service and is the most simple and convenient way for consumers to buy and watch their favourite films.”
The Industry Trust’s Sylvia Wan added: “This year has seen a host of digital services added to FindAnyFilm, demonstrating that owning the latest release on digital is a welcome choice for many film fans, Sky Store is a perfect complement to the service. Whether consumers want the convenience of their favourite retailer dropping a disc at their door or to prefer to watch instantly online, FindAnyFilm has it all.”

Not quite our industry, but nonetheless, it’s worth noting that officers from specialist anti-piracy police at PIPCU, that’s the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, have been busy over the past week or so, swooping on a couple on Manchester seizing items related to the distribution of copyright protected music software. The couple were suspected of involvement in online distribution of copyright protected music software, including backing tracks, at discounted prices. They were believed to have been selling them at a lower price than legitimate copies. Commenting on the case, government IP minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “From pirate websites to fake electrical appliances and counterfeit vodka, intellectual property (IP) crime costs the UK hundreds of millions of pounds each year. That's why the Government is committed to cracking down on individuals and criminal gangs responsible for large scale IP crime. Today's operation demonstrates the important role that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and other partners play in protecting IP. This action should serve as a warning that this type of criminal activity will be firmly dealt with."

And we’ll end with something that tickled us… Younger readers, or those down with the kids, will be entirely familiar with the phrase Netflix and chill (look it up on the Internet if you’re not sure), making the launch of a new curated series of films on Curzon Home Cinema all the more apt. For the series of saucy films available through the service, comes under the heading of Curzon Home Cinema and Chill. The films, including everything from classic titles such as Le Grande Bouffe and Salon Kitty through to recent outings such as The Duke Of Burgundy and Blue Is The Warmest Colour, have been putt together to make the launch of Gaspar Noe’s Love, available through Curzon Home Cinema simultaneously with its theatrical launch. Commenting on the smart initiative, Curzon Home Cinema programming and acquisition executive Heather McIntosh said: “In conjunction with the release of Gasper Noé's controversial and highly-anticipated new film 'Love', we've put together a collection of films that show the more explicit side of intimacy. While not devoid of romance, these films depict less conventional onscreen relationships and dare to portray desire without pulling any punches. Not ones to watch with your mum."


Kicking off a period that we reckon is going to see its fair share of industry people’s 50th birthdays (there’s another bash next month and The Raygun’s own Tim Murray is celebrating his next year too), there were a whole host of industry types out and about in London’s King’s Cross to celebrate the landmark birthday for well-known industry character Neil Williams, a former hmv staffer and manager and sales person at Momentum and now sales director at eOne (heck, he even had a stint as a trade press columnist, where his outrageous comments once saw an issue practically being pulped). Loads of faces from his hmv days (hmv types past and present) were in attendance, with eOne and Momentum people and loads more out in force. Happy birthday from The Raygun and all our pals… 
“I think that is bluntly overstated. And that is me saying that as someone who is aggressive, or quite excited, about the potential of BBC Store. We have business with Netflix around the world and significant business with Netflix in the UK. You can find lots of BBC archive programming there, BBC Store is non-exclusive. We are not stopping others selling BBC programmes or doing video-on-demand streaming deals with others like Netflix, which remain absolutely complementary to this service.”
BBC Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie on those “BBC Store to take on/rival Netflix stories…
After just two weeks at cinemas, Spectre has now overtaken Jurassic World to be the year’s highest grosser, it is also neck and neck with the previous Bond outing, Spectre, in terms of where it’s at in terms of box office. Highest new entry was an excellent £1 million plus performance from Brooklyn. Other new entries included Burnt, with £445,777 and Scouts Guide To The Apocalypse with just under £300,000. 
Fifty Shades fans rejoice… As two more films, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, are due to be filmed back to back. James Foley will be at the helm for both Universal titles…
Comic book news ahoy:  X-Men spin-off Gambit is set to fall into the capable hands of director Doug Liman, while on the Lego Batman title, Mariah Carey (no, really) is to provide vocal talents…
Snowpiercer may have had one of the more circuitous routes to market – heck, it’s still not available in the UK, with its target market having seemingly watched it through nefarious means (mainly using proxy servers to access Netflix US) – but the next from director Bong Joon-ho is also taking a less orthodox route to market. Creature feature Okja boasts an impressive cast already ahead of shooting starting in the spring of 2016, with the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano joining Tilda Swinton. And now not only has Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company got on board, but Netflix is joining the party too. The resulting film, a good old-fashioned monster movie, should get a theatrical release, in the US at least, courtesy of the streaming giant as it moves further into this sector. And also on the Snowpiercer front – latest talk is of a TV series…
More from our seven-year-old Albie’s YouTube channel. This week, he’s opening a gorgeous Turbo Kid package…
Here’s that Rise Of The Footsoldier sequel trailer we were telling you about…
And at the opposite end of the scale, here’s Dory…

This week’s Red Band business…
ANd this week’s teen fare…
We’ve already had the US one, now here’s the UK trailer, this looks ace…
Here’s this week’s Star Wars…
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