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It Was A Good Week For... DC Comics set to dominate the entertainment landscape…
It Was A Bad Week For… After last week's torrent arrest, this week it seems streaming has overtaken torrents as the most populra source for piracy… 
In a summer chock-full of superheroes, next week sees a raft of comic-book-related activity, as one of the earliest of the summer blockbusters, DC Comics’ Batman V Superman, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in its extended Ultimate Edition form, on Monday August 1. The release precedes, as noted here, an animated take on another Batman tale, seminal comic the Killing Joke (unveiled to much hoo-ha at San Diego Comic Con last weekend), and arrives at the same time as the second season of Dark Knight-related prequel Gotham (a series we’ve caught on to a bit late, but is truly outstanding). With Suicide Squad at cinemas on August 5, it really is a DC summer. Batman V Superman has been doing storming trade in its exclusive digital HD release too…
Many industry observers are expecting Batman V Superman to sit somewhere just behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Deadpool in terms of size and sales and, if the digital experience is anything to go by, that should become a reality com the physical release. For, that’s exactly where the film sits after its first few days on release digitally. Here’s’s Simon Homent on BvS: “Batman v Superman has opened as our third biggest Week 1 of the year so far, behind Star Wars and Deadpool. We are delighted with this result, especially with the success of the Ultimate Edition which has driven around 90 per cent of the sales. It’s another example of a movie that our customers love to own to watch again and again on their smart TVs and other devices, and there is no doubt that the additional content has helped this.”
And what of the physical world this week? Well. the animals are coming: Zootropolis, also known as Zootopia, has landed this week from Disney and is perched atop the midweek chart from the Official Charts Company, ahead of London Has Fallen, after shifting almost 100,000 units in its first few days on sale. It is the 13th film to pass the six-figure barrier in its first seven days on sale in 2016, an elite band of titles. Other new entries include the Paramount-through-Universal title 10 Cloverfield Lane at number three, with Risen being another feather in Sony’s 2016 cap as a new title at number eight and more from the Warner-owned DC title Supergirl Season 1 at number nine. The only other new face in the top 40 is another Jackie Chan outing in the hale of Police Story – Lockdown.  

Big news from Sky on the back of its results announced this week, as it unveiled a new addition to its hugely popular Buy & Keep concept. And after appropriating the phrase “box sets” from the physical world – to great effect, it must be noted – for its vod offering, the TV giant is now adding box sets to its Buy & Keep service. Any Sky TV customers purchasing selected titles through their TVs or devices can now get DVDs of them sent to their homes, with the offering also available to non-Sky customers through Now TV and other boxes. As well as TV releases such as House Of Cards, Homeland, Sons Of Anarchy, Modern Family, Breaking Bad and more, the Box Sets service also takes in dil franchises such as Fast & Furious, Pitch Perfect and Toy Story. The announcement came as Sky said its Buy & Keep transaction were up 86 per cent year on year, with 3,500 titles now available. Sky Store director Kathryn Lacey said: “Sky Store Buy & Keep continues to be a huge hit and as the UK’s regular number one digital retailer for new movie releases it is a natural next step for us to provide customers with the opportunity to own their favourite Box Sets. Buy & Keep Box Sets is the first of many exciting initiatives we have planned for Sky Store.”
Elevation Sales has announced a key appointment that sees it strengthening its team and further enhancing its retail credentials, with another key buyer joining the sales company jointly owned by Lionsgate and Studiocanal. Steve Lovatt will join from Tesco to work as sector controller. He adds to a team that is headed up by former buyers – md Kevin Dersley has experience at both Tesco and the now defunct Entertainment UK and his number two Richard Athill started his career at Our Price. Lovatt will replace Tom Reveler who is joining hardware manufacturer LG in a digital role. Commenting on the appointment, Dersley said: “We are delighted that Steve has chosen to join Elevation. He has been a key partner and instrumental in our growth in his time at Tesco. Steve's knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing retailers in today's market, aligned with his passion and enthusiasm for the category make him the perfect fit for Elevation as we continue to find new ways to work with our retail partners in engaging the consumer.”
More recruitment news and Arrow has announced a number of key appointments to its team, adding a quartet of new staffers at its ever-growing Hertfordshire HQ. The appointments come as the company marks its 25th anniversary year with growth in terms of both turnover and market share and continues to widen its scope across the entire entertainment business. This includes a finance and operations director, Darren Kerr, jining from consumer electronics sector; Daniel Perry, joining as digital strategy manager with a CV that includes both ITV and Disney; a head of catalogue production and acquisitions in the shape of former Eureka production manager Kevin Lambert and, as brand marketing and business development manager Mike Hewitt. The latter pair will be working, among other things, on the thriving Arrow Video imprint, with genre specialist Hewitt, who spent five years at Universal after starting at Revolver, looking to take the brand forward. Commenting on the appointments, Arrow Films ceo Alex Agran said: “I am very excited about the future of Arrow with the highly talented and experienced group  that have just joined the company. Our focus will continue to be about our delivering exceptional content globally via multiple platforms allied with the best customer experience.”
Sticking with Arrow for some more news, and the company’s assorted imprints are performing strongly, with the latest hit proving to be Italian thriller Gomorrah, which, as we’ve noted here before, has built an impeccable word of mouth. Its success – it’s exceeded targets across SKUs – bodes well for its next TV biggie, Narcos, another title we’ve covered here previously. Here’s ceo Alex Agran on its TV titles: “The second series of the hit Mafia series Gomorrah has found a new and burgeoning audience with sales looking on course to exceed Season 1 plus we’ve over-performed on our forecasts for Season 1 & 2 box sets on both DVD and Blu-ray. It’s one of the most talked about shows on TV at the moment and it’s not going away – Season 3 and 4 are in the pipeline so the fans won’t have long to wait for the next instalment. Our other premium series for the quarter –  Narcos Season 1 is being released on August 29 a few days prior to the Season 2 launch on Netflix. We’re very pleased by the full-trade wide support from our customers we have received for this amazing series, backed up by healthy pre-orders . Awareness will max out over the bank holiday August weekend as The Netflix Original builds for the hugely anticipated release of Season 2 of this iconic series. These two flagship series, Gomorrah and Narcos show our intent to bring the very best premium TV content to UK audiences.”
More from Arrow and its film slate continues to look impressive too. Currently picking up a lot of interest and word of mouth after its recent theatrical release is Men And Chicken, which will arrive in the middle of August with strong buzz and critical acclaim ringing in its ears. Here’s Alex Agran, again, on the forthcoming release. He said: “Men and Chicken, the subversive and anarchic Danish family drama starring Mads Mikkelsen and our latest theatrical release, has received fantastic critical acclaim and a tidy box office too. We’re getting lots of follow-on  bookings and should prove to do some nice business on physical and EST too with our DVD/BD/EST release set for August 15. We are fully committed to releasing quality films theatrically and have a very strong slate coming up for the rest of the year which we look forward to working with the industry on.”
Meanwhile, over at Arrow Video, the company has been enjoying success of its own, with its impressive Herschell Gordon Lewis box set selling out within record time – the US edition of 500 went within hours, the UK version in a matter of days. And it’s at premium price too – the lavish set includes the godfather of gore’s work as well as a whole host of extras, including a seven inch single. Commenting on its success, the newly installed Mike Hewitt said: “Alongside a stunningly beautiful Steelbook edition of 80s slasher classic The Burning, the key titles of Arrow Video’s Horror Halloween line-up have been our two limited edition HG Lewis box sets. Celebrating the huge importance of The Godfather of Gore in the evolution of the gross-out horror film, these fantastic editions have collated 14 of his most iconic films, nine of which are Blu-ray premieres, supported with a whole host of splatterific special features. Limited to 500 copies in the UK (and a further 500 in the US), Shock and Gore: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis includes a 7” vinyl single from the Blood Feast score, a 160-page novelisation of Blood Feast by Lewis himself, a fully-illustrated 92-page art book by Stephen Thrower, 14 postcards, a commemorative barf bag, an individually made ‘super gory’ eyeball and stunning new artwork by The Twins of Evil. Available exclusively through our microsite, the US version sold out in less than five hours, and we sold all 500 UK units in less than 4 days.  The similarly beautifully packaged The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast edition (limited to 2,500 units in both the UK and US), has been available exclusively through Amazon in the UK, and we have been thrilled with the fantastic eye-popping pre-orders we have seen on this version during the first week of sales and it certainly looks set to be the definitive Halloween self-purchase / gift for all horror fans this year.”

To the Picturehouse Central, screening location du jour, for a special preview of the new take on classic family tale Swallows And Amazons, due at cinemas from Studiocanal later in August ahead of a likely Q4 home entertainment release. And in a year when, as this parent will testify, animation ennui and superhero fatigue is starting to set in, it’s great to see a proper, live action family adventure with a proper homegrown sensibility at cinemas. As well as being a treat for parents, kids love it too, as our eight-year-old junior correspondent can testify. It sits neatly alongside Studiocanal’s recent family hit Paddington, as well as current theatrical Brit-friendly biggie The BFG. The family screening was attended by cast and crew of the film, ahead of its premiere in the Lake District. Commenting on the new take, Studiocanal’s Kristin Ryan said: “Swallows and Amazons is a great adventure tale and a wonderful film for the whole family. The film is being incredibly well received across the board ahead of its cinema release on August 19."
Meanwhile, in a smart drafting move, Studiocanal is pushing the original 1974 film version of the Arthur Ransome classic on DVD and Blu-ray formats. The sumptuously packaged title was given a new lease of life to mark its 40th anniversary two years ago under the Vintage Classics brand, with Studiocanal now giving it drafting treatment as the new version arrives in cinemas. Commenting on the activity, Studiocanal’s Kristin Ryan said: “The original version of Arthur Ransome's classic tale has delighted children of all ages for generations. It's exciting to have the opportunity to bring a whole new audience to the film."
As far removed from Swallows And Amazons as you can get is another classic slice of cinema being given the Vintage Classics treatment by Studiocanal, Sid & Nancy. Alex Cox’s doomed punk romance based on star-crossed lovers Spungen and Vicious. The release marks two anniversaries – the 40th year of punk rock, as well as the 30th since it came out at UK cinemas. Studiocanal’s Kristin Ryan said: “As part of the activity celebrating the 40th anniversary of punk, we're excited to be releasing Alex Cox's 1986 seminal film Sid & Nancy featuring a standout performance from Gary Oldman. Fully restored with a whole host of new extras, the film will debut as part of the BFI's punk season this summer before its August home entertainment release."

Independent Dogwoof has inked a deal with vod operator which will see its titles being made available through the service. The deal, inked between the documentary specialist’s head of home entertainment Daniel Green and’s Simon Homent kicks off on August 1, as Dogwoof also moves its distribution over to Network. The first title to be available through the deal is a biggie too – the highest grossing documentary of 2016, the latest from Michael Moore, Where To Invade Next. Commenting on the deal, Green said: “We’ve been long-term admirers of and have the perfect title in Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next with which to launch the remainder of our 2016 slate." Homent added: “We are delighted to add Dogwoof’s outstanding content to the platform. Their content line up is going from strength to strength and we are noticing a high level of interest from customers for high end documentaries. We are very excited to be launching with Where To Invade Next and look forward to adding more titles in the coming weeks.”
While we’re on Dogwoof, its latest theatrical outing, the rather excellent Author: The JT Leroy Story, opens at cinemas on July 29, ahead of a DVD release in September. We spoke to director Jeff Feuerzeig, you can read the article, one of two that have gone up as part of our revived (albeit irregular) column on consumer site The Ransom Note here. In the meantime, commenting on the film, Dogwoof’s Daniel Green said: “Author was one of the most talked about docs at this year's Sundance and so we're delighted that the wait is finally over for UK cinema audiences. We'll be looking to carry the fantastic word of mouth through to the film's DVD and digital release on 19 September."

With the whole world going Pokemon crazy, what better time for Animatsu to announce that it has picked up the rights to a quartet of Pokemon related titles for the Manga imprint. The four titles include new feature length animated outing Pokemon: Hoopa And The Clash Of Ages, as well as the original three films featuring the loveable characters. The new film will be released on October 24, with the first three due in November. Commenting on the deal, Animatsu’s Andrew Hewson said: “We are incredibly proud and excited to announce the release of the first three Pokémon movies on limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook. We pride ourselves on being the home of classic and perennial franchises and this is a great addition to the family. With the success of Pokémon Go this is the perfect time to be releasing the movies, especially as this is the first time fans can get them on Blu-ray.” Charles Fotheringham from Manga parent Platform Entertainment added: “As the world goes Pokémon mad, we’ve had a fantastic response from our retail partners to the forthcoming release of Pokémon The Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages. We’re releasing this on October 24 which coincides with the school holidays but as we’ve seen recently across the media, the appeal for this property stretches across a wide age range and demographic and our campaign will reach out to a mass market audience to deliver on the huge potential which this title has.”
There’s more from Animatsu, with the acquisitions and rights specialist picking up another favourite title for the affiliated Manga imprint. Transformers The Movie, the original full-length outing is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and it will be arriving in a two-disc, collectible Blu-ray set in December. It all fits in neatly with the way the company is now positioning itself, going beyond the realms of the anime world and further moving into bigger and bigger brands. Commenting on its increasingly diverse slate and wider scope, the company’s Andrew Hewson said: “Manga Entertainment is no longer just a niche anime distributor, but rather a house of commercial and perennial pop-culture brands including Halo, Ghost in the Shell, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Transformers, Digimon and Yu–Gi–Oh! Moreover, our affiliate company Animatsu Entertainment, which focuses on production and international rights management currently has several projects in development, including an animated feature film, In This Corner of the World as well as an original series. Expect to see a lot more from us this Q4 and into the new year. We have some very exciting and surprising plans lined up which we can’t wait to share with our partners.”
The football season is looming, and while West Ham ready themselves to move into their new stadium, the Hammers’ old ground Upton Park will see a raft of activity come August 8, as principal photography begins on Final Score. The previously announced thriller, which sees Signature further move into the production arena, is set at a sporting event where a group of heavily armed baddies try to pull off an audacious ransom plot. And the cast has now been firmed up, with Pierce Brosnan and wrestler turned film star Dave Bautista set to appear in the Scott Mann directed film. Signature’s very own Marc Goldberg is among the producers, bringing his commercial nous to the proceedings. The company’s Elizabeth Williams is an executive producer, while film production and financing group The Fyzz Facility is also involved. Fyzz’s Robert Jones (also a former Palace executive, as those with longer memories might recall) said: “Final Score may be set in London but truly it’s a story that’s relatable the world over. Scott Mann’s vision has scale, white knuckle tension, humour and heart. We’re thrilled that the concept and screenplay has attracted such an exciting cast in Dave Bautista, Pierce Brosnan and Julian Cheung, and firmly believe that this will be a standout in 2017’s movie release calendar."

Genre fans flocked to San Diego last weekend for the annual Comic Con event, and it was good to see BBC Worldwide out there flying the flag for the UK. After revealing the trailer for the fourth series of the programme, BBC Worldwide smartly put up the next release on DVD and Blu-ray up for pre-order in all the usual places. As BBC Worldwide director of consumer products Andrew Moultrie said: “Sherlock is consistently one of our best-selling and most popular DVD brands. As fans try to piece together clues from the Comic-Con panel about the fourth series, we felt now would be the perfect time to open the pre-order window so fans can ensure the latest Sherlock series has a place in their collection.”
Next week’s releases now and Monday August 1 sees the bow of the long-awaited sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, entitled, with some logic, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. The film, rated “every bit as funny as the original”, reunites the entire cast from the original, with Universal’s campaign concentrating on the film’s heritage, targeting women aged over 40 years old, with advertising on print media. It includes PR support from writer and star Nia Vardalos, with partnerships with The Real Greek restaurants as well as Facebook activity. Further partnerships were also secured with wedding website Confetti, and maker of traditional Greek wedding jewellery Crown Stefana. Universal product manager Lucia Magadan said: “This has been a hugely enjoyable campaign to work on, and we hope that everyone enjoys revisiting the Portokalos family as much as we did.”
More on the recently announced event that sees the MESA Europe Transforming Home Entertainment Summit and the highly successful BASE Category Showcase join forces for a combined event. The line-up is still being finalised, with more than 170 potential delegates registering their interest for the event, due to be held on September 7 at the Picturehouse Central in Piccadilly. MESA Europe executive director Jm Bottoms said: “Its great to be involved in putting together something like this because there is a genuine appetite for sharing information and ideas on what is going on in this sector. Whether it is learning more about what is driving the success of UHD BD in the US, exploring strategies to help grow EST or looking at some of the things that are going on behind the scenes to make the entertainment sector even slicker in responding to changing consumer demands, it is all going to be part of this very special day.”

Bouyed by the arrival of the school summer holidays and preview screenings, the rather excellent The BFG landed atop the the UK box office chart with almost £5.3 million in its opening frame, ahead of another big opener, Star Trek Beyond, which took £4.8 million. Secret Cinema’s run of Dirty Dancing brought in a total of £1.9 million, greater than its original theatrical run…
Reboot news of the week, if it were needed, is the announcement that the underrated superhero franchise The Rocketeer is going to get a new lease of life. Well, we say franchise, but the classic property only yielded one 90s take on the masked adventurer’s exploits in the 1990s. The twist on this version is that the Rocketeer is limey to be an black woman, something sure to unnerve the same people who’ve been banging on about the revamped Ghostbusters…
And sequel news this week seemed to centre on who wouldn't be appearing in follow-up films, as it emerged that the next Star Wars franchise offering, Rogue One, will not feature Han Solo. And as the King Arthur trailer was released, it was similarly announced that Charlie Hunnam won’t be appearing in the Pacific Rim sequel…
“The sub was made as a way for our users to share streaming video, and as Reddit is a platform for free speech it is out of our control as to what our users post. In my opinion, if Warner Brothers spent all the time and money they spent on trying to control piracy on building a centralized platform for users to own their own movie library for a cost-effective price, they would make millions. Look at what Steam has done for Valve and video game piracy. Of course, that would mean co-operating with other movie studios, and I doubt they would put aside their greed to do that.”
Moderators from the subreddit group Bestofstreamingvideo respond to Warner’s bid to try and takedown the group as more piracy moves online…

As we’ve said elsewhere, we’re back up and running on The Ransom Note with film and DVD friendly stuff… See it here
follow us for scurrilous gossip, snide remarks, regular news updates and more at
In a week with oodles of trailers, this is the biggest non-San Diego Comic Con one…
Warner’s at Comic Con…
A monster movie…
And a beast one…
This Lego looks outstanding…
Justice fingers gang incoming…
And even more from Warner…
More from Warner in a bumper week for the studio’s trailers…
And another biggie, this looks like a belter…
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