TO INFINITY AND BEYOND…AT THE MOVIES
MIDWEEK CHART UPDATE
ARROW'S FITTING CLIMAX
SIGNATURE DISHES OUT HORROR TOO
101 CLEANS UP
ARROW HITS NEW PEAK
MO WAX, MO MONEY
BFI UNVEILS LFF TITLES
BROS FANS TO MAKE MORE NOISE
I’M MANDY, TRY ME
STUDIOCANAL'S TOP BOY
SIGNATURE BOASTS LFF QUINTET
DOGWOOF'S BAD REPUTATION
YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH
ART EYE PIECES TOGETHER CAMPAIGN
WHO’S NEXT FOR LEGENDS DINNERQUOTE OF THE WEEK
TWEET OF THE WEEK
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
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It Was A Good Week For… Arrow Video, celebrating its FrightFest sponsorship, the response to Climax and a big November package …
It Was A Bad Week For… More people watched the KSI versus Logan Paul through illegal Twitch streams than the official ppv YouTube…
With Disney’s latest instalment in the ongoing Marvel saga, Avengers Infinity War Part 1, arriving in stores next week for its physical release, it’s interesting to note some figures released by the studio this week, as it pulled together a raft of record-breaking figures for the comic book epic. Perhaps most interestingly, the title is now the biggest digital release Disney has ever brought out. As its statement said: “After setting the biggest domestic and global debut in history, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War has become not only the biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe film of all time but the fourth biggest release in history with more than $2.04 billion worldwide. It became Disney’s fastest-selling digital release in its in-home debut and recently rocketed to the top of the sales charts in its Blu-ray and DVD release.” You can see the figures here, but chief among the achievements trumpeted by Disney include the fact it’s the number one global release of 2018, and is the biggest debut ever at US cinemas and now holds the same record globally. As well as being Disney’s biggest digital release ever, it also scored big at UK cinemas, offering Disney its second biggest market outside of the US, bested only by China in terms of box office. We’ll have more on the home entertainment bow next week…
And before we get into a whole raft of festival-based news, a quick look at this week’s big sellers ahead of the Avengers onslaught next week. The week’s biggest new release, and making its debut at number one on the Official Charts Company’s midweek bulletin is The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society. The Studiocanal title was said to have shifted more than 22,000 copies in its first three days on sale. Another new entry at the midway stage was Lionsgate’s Ghost Stories, new at number four. Other new entries included The Last Witness at number 28, Funny Cow at number 29 and, two places below that, the seventh season of American Horror Story.
Horror fans descended on Leicester Square last weekend for the annual goreathon that is Arrow a video FrightFest. As ever the event was a roaring success, with the biggest ever line-up, many of which will be hurtling towards home entertainment in the coming months. Commenting on the event, co-director Alan Jones said: “FrightFest 2018 was an absolute blinder. We knew we had a very strong line-up of must-see genre movies and audience volume reflected that. We had a record year and so many full houses we now know for certain that we do not have to rely on known quantities to satisfy our committed audience's love of exceptional horror fantasy. It was the under-the-radar shockers that people really wanted to see, and our three packed screenings of the Asian phenomenon One Cut Of The Dead proved it. From The Dark and The Man Who Killed HitlerAnd Then The Bigfoot to The Cleaning Lady and Crystal Eyes, once more our guests were in awe of the epic presentation of their movies and the rousing reception they received. Arrow Video was the perfect headline sponsor, in tune with everything we wanted to achieve, and the digital displays at the Cineworld Empire, especially our stairway to horror heaven, and the cosy grindhouse vibe of the Prince Charles, exuded the pitch-perfect atmospheres. It augurs well for our 20th Anniversary in 2019 for which spectacular plans are already underway. FrightFest has always equalled Fabulous and more so this year than any other.”
Arrow Video FrightFest also marked the first time the genre imprint had taken over as headline sponsor cementing the ever closer bonds between the event and the label after affiliation in recent years. Arrow Video's Mike Hewitt said: “This year’s Arrow Video FrightFest was a terrific year, not just for the event and its fans, but also for us as our first year as Headline Sponsors. The films playing this year really displayed a great strength and breadth in genre films – ranging all the way from pure horrors, through to fantasies, comedies and documentaries. We had fantastic brand visibility throughout and collaborated with the FrightFest team to give fans real extra value this year, including goodie bags featuring five releases across our Arrow Video and Books ranges, assorted giveaways throughout the weekend, some very well-received trailer reels and a live Arrow Video Podcast with guests Jenn Wexler (The Ranger), Issa Lopez (Tigers Are Not Afraid) and horror legend Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator). And we were thrilled with the reaction to our two titles, with Pascal Laugier’s Incident In A Ghostland receiving some great feedback ahead of our Blu-ray release on September 3. Best of all was managing to bring legendary enfant terrible Gaspar Noe over to introduce our Closing Film – Climax – which became the hottest talking point of the festival and ended the whole event with a mighty bang! Climax will be in cinemas on September 21, with the Home Ent release to follow in 2019. Feedback from the Frightfest team and fans has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to the next events (London on Nov 2 and Glasgow in Feb next year) with much relish!”
Again, as noted here last week, another key player at FrightFest is Signature, it too was well represented at the event, its Davide Tennant starrer Bad Samaritan was one of the key films on the opening night of the event, but there as plenty more there too, as the company’s Emilie Barra outlined. She said: “It was this time of year again when Signature can proudly wave its freak flag and bring the best of horror to a crowd of fellow gore-hounds and horror aficionados! It was a busy bank holiday weekend for us at FrightFest with eight films at the festival, including six films under the newly launched Frightfest Presents label, as well as a few others that are TBA soon. We are overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments and reviews our films received and delighted to see them in the festival-goers’ and journalists’ top five lists. We couldn’t hope for a better set-up to properly launch FrightFest Presents and are excited to release our first two titles this Q4 with The Dark and Secret Santa. A big thank you to everyone at Frightfest for their continued support.”
And sticking with FrightFest, another key operator at Arrow Video FrightFest is 101 Films, which has a strong slate of horror titles and has further upped its game after inking a deal to release the new take on David Cronenberg’s classic horror Rabid due in 2019. Commenting on its FrightFest presence, the company’s Tim Scaping said: “This year was the first in which 101 Films had films at FrightFest (we’d subsequently acquired FrightFest films in previous years); both were world premieres and went down very well with the FrightFest audience. The Cleaning Lady is an intense psychological horror from director Jon Knautz, (Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, Goddess of Love). Star and co-writer Alexis Kendra was in attendance; it was great to meet Alexis and to have her full support for our release next year. Our other film at the festival, He’s Out There, is a chilly horror-thriller starring The Handmaid's Tale's Yvonne Strahovsky that we’re releasing on DVD and digital on September 24.We also screened a specially-recorded message from the Soska Sisters, from the set of their new film Rabid, a reimagining of the David Cronenberg classic that we’ll be releasing next year. I was lucky enough to visit the set in Hamilton, Ontario, with FrightFest’s Paul McEvoy back in July and the footage we saw looks incredible. There will be more on Rabid at future FrightFest events, hopefully including the Halloween all-dayer. Overall it was a very strong line-up and a great weekend, so as ever a big thanks to Paul, Ian, Alan and Greg along with everyone else who helps make FrightFest happen. Aside from our films I particularly liked Climax, The Witch in the Window, Upgrade, One Cut of the Dead and Tigers Are Not Afraid.”
There’s no rest for the wicked, as the old saying goes, and as if sponsoring and working at the Arrow Video FrightFest wasn’t enough, the folks at Arrow Video this week unveiled the line-up for November, which includes another biggie in the shape of Arrow Video’s own unique offering of a Guillermo del Toro film, complete with sumptuous extras and gorgeous packaging. Running through the slate, Arrow Video’s Mike Hewitt said: “November’s titles were announced today, with some killer Western releases across the US and UK with the beautifully restored Django (US only) and Texas Adios(UK), plus a fantastic boxset of Robert de Niro and Brian De Palma’s early films which features a triptych of wildly funny comedies from this pair of Hollywood greats with Greetings, The Wedding Party and Hi, Mom! Fans of more obscure titles will find great pleasures in Teruo (Blind Women’s Curse) Ishii’s bold and brutal shocker, Orgies Of Edo, but the jewel in our November crown is Crimson Peak – a lavish edition of Guillermo del Toro’s superb gothic horror. We’ve gone to town on incredible packaging and new extras for this release, enlisting the design skills of the film’s concept artist, Guy Davis, to create the sumptuous packaging, an 80-page Ltd Ed hard-bound book, a brand-new Making Of and so much more. The perfect gift for all your Gothic friends and family!”
This week – Thursday August 31 to be precise – saw the theatrical launch of The Man From Mo Wax, the excellent music documentary looking at the life and times of the hugely influential label and its founder James Lavelle. We’ve featured it here already, but the theatrical bow, which comes ahead of the BFI’s release of a gorgeous physical release of the doc, has garnered plenty of coverage for the September 10 home entertainment launch. Chief among them is The Raygun’s very own Tim Murray interviewing James Lavelle for The Ransom Note (you can see it here). Commenting on the launch, Chris Warrington, from Trafalgar Releasing, which is handling the theatrical, said: “The Man from Mo Wax is a fascinating film about a unique individual that demanded a unique approach to its release. With our partners at Our Screen, ElevenFiftyFive, BFI and the film’s production company, Capture, we have delivered just that. Last night’s sell-out event at the BFI coincided with regional premieres across the UK and will kick start a period of theatrical play, generating interest and awareness in the run-up to the release of the BFI’s incredible Blu-ray boxset – the kind of physical product that captures the spirit of Mo Wax will make any collector proud!” The BFI’s Jill Reading said: “The Blu-ray/DVD Limited Edition set was launched on Thursday night with a sold out Sonic Cinema UK premiere screening at BFI Southbank, followed by a Q&A with James Lavelle and the filmmakers, broadcast via Facebook Live, and an after-party with a live DJ set from Lavelle. A good night was had by all and it’s raised awareness of the BFI release, which comes hot on the heels of this week’s theatrical opening by Trafalgar Releasing.”
The BFI this week unveiled the programme for this year’s London Film Festival and, with some 225 films on show during its 12-day stint, there's nor only a wealth of titles to see, but, as ever, LFF provides a strong launchpad for feature films. For the likes of Signature, it’s a signal of the company’s growing stature in that it has five films on show, with the LFF not just a perfect way to give a profile boost to theatrical titles, but to home entertainment ones too. Commenting on the overall event, as we run through some key offerings, Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive, BFI said “Opening doors for everyone is at the heart of the BFI’s purpose and the BFI London Film Festival is the ultimate platform for filmmakers, established and new, to showcase their latest work to audiences in a city renowned for welcoming cosmopolitan creativity. The Festival’s great programme always challenges our global perspective with fresh ideas and viewpoints, something so valuable at this extraordinary moment when we, as a nation are so engaged in a passionate debate about the UK’s future.”
The London Film Festival has in recent years provided a perfect launched for big music documentaries too, and one of this year’s biggies is set to be After The Screaming Stops, a film looking at Bros, brothers Matt and Luke Goss, their tempestuous relationship and their reforming for a reunion gig. It’s certainly got the Brosettes excited (and there are still plenty of them about, as anyone who’s worked on recent DTV releases starring Luke such as Traffik or Your Move will testify. Its home entertainment release will follow what is certain to be a high profile LFF premiere in October. Spirit is looking after the film in what is becoming a hugely busy Q4 for the company, with After The Screaming Stops due on stores on November 12. Commenting on the title, Spirit’s Frank Cirillo said: “We at Spirit Entertainment are thrilled to be releasing Bros: After The Screaming Stops this Q4. It’s a fantastic film showing Bros in action both on and off the stage, along with a healthy dose of nostalgia. From the reaction of retail thus far and the huge buzz generated in the last 24 hours since the LFF announcement, we are confident that we have a major hit on our hands. The marketing and PR plans in place will undoubtedly reach out to the massive fan base and generate great sales at launch and through to gifting.”
Another big announcement from the London Film Festival slate is the arrival of Mandy, the eagerly awaited Nic Cage starrer, which pairs his DVD credentials and massive sales potential with an action horror outing that has been making waves since its trailer first aired earlier in the summer. And it’s a title that will be able to benefit from the huge LFF profile on its home entertainment release far sooner than others. For Universal has this week announced that the film will open at cinemas on October 12 – the day after its LFF premiere – with a physical and digital release due on October 29. Better still, the 1980s-set film will benefit from HMV and Universal’s collaborative VHS-style packaging (as written about here on numerous occasions recently). The retailer will be offering an exclusive VHS Range SKU of the film on Blu-ray (you can see it here), where its already up for pre-order). It’s the first new title to receive this groundbreaking packaging and, commenting on the release, HMV’s John Delany said: “There are so many reasons to be excited by Mandy. Panos Cosmatos has clearly created an incredible film. From the amazing visuals demonstrated by the trailers, to the fact it features one last scores Jóhann Jóhannsson produced before his tragic and untimely death earlier this year. Given the 1980s setting and styling of the film, we thought a version with VHS inspired packaging would be the perfect collectable version for fans of Mandy. Universal Pictures has produced a beautiful package that stays true to the film itself that will be only@hmv and just in time for Halloween.”
Studiocanal has, as ever, an impressive slate at the London Film Festival, and has teased out some big news for John Carpenter fans (we’re suitably excited, expect more about this next week). Commenting on its slate, the company’s Kristin Ryan said: “We've a very exciting and varied lineup at this year's LFF starting with the UK premiere of Beautiful Boy, the searing emotional drama starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet which is sure to be one of the top award films of the year, physiological thriller Nancy starring the always impressive Andrea Riseborough and the UK Premiere of our restored release of John Carpenter's The Fog."
Returning to Signature, and as well as starring at FrightFest, the company has also this week revealed it has an impressive slate at the London Film Festival too, with a record for the independent of five titles on show. Commenting on its selection, the company’s head of acquisitions and development Elizabeth Williams said: ““We are thrilled to have five films selected at this year’s London Film Festival: Arctic, a survival thriller starring Mads Mikkelesen, Duplicate, a twin sci-fi thriller Starring Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhouse and Patricia Clarkson, Benjamin, a bittersweet comedy directed by comedian Simon Amstell and starring Colin Morgan, Korean thriller The Spy Gone North and Danish nail-biting breakthrough thriller The Guilty.These five films are a great way to showcase the direction that Signature Entertainment are taking towards critically-acclaimed content and working with a wide roster of talents from around the world. We are very much looking forward to their festival launch and subsequent release to UK audiences.”
Documentary specialist Dogwoof has two new films going into LFF: Joan Jett music bio Bad Reputation, which premiered at Sundance, and the first four hours of Mark Cousins' Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema. Commenting on the two festival selects, Dogwoof's head of home entertainment Daniel Green said: "The newly launched Create strand at LFF hosts a wealth of challenging new documentaries, and we're delighted to give both Bad Reputation and the first four hours of Mark's 16-hour Women Make Film their UK festival bows. Bad Reputation will receive a UK theatrical run on 26 October ahead of a home ent release in Jan 2019, while Women Make Film continues to be filmed - look out for the next instalments at festivals next year."
Another film worth keeping an eye out for is from fledgling label Modern Films, which will see its recent acquisition Utoya July 22, which will be airing on October 12 and 13 at the event ahead of a theatrical bow on October 19, with home entertainment further down the line/ The film is a fictionalised take on the tragic events on the titular Norwegian island which saw right winger Anders Brevik go on a brutal killing spree. The film earned $3.5 million in its native Norway, a vast total from a population of little more than 5 million proper – that’s the equivalent of a £44 million box office haul in the UK. Commenting on the release, Modern Films md Eve Gabereau said: “It is vital to be releasing this timely film in the UK, particularly around issues of gun control, extremism and mental health. For us, it is a great piece of artistry but also a hard-hitting piece of recent history told by those who lived through it. The way they have brought their experiences together to form a communal narrative around what happened, alongside Erik Poppe's unique vision of working with the story in a single, real-time take, renders the viewer experience heart-wrenching. This is its strength, particularly on the big screen - where it really should be seen. UTØYA-JULY 22 is the best of both political and cinematic filmmaking.” More on the films on show at LFF and their route to market in the coming weeks and months.
Forthcoming release news now and Monday September 3 sees the release of a film that blends two of our favourite subjects, punk rock and alien encounters, Now To Talk To Girls At Parties. The film comes courtesy of Studiocanal, whose Thom Leaman said: “From the weird and wonderful minds of Neil Gaiman and John Cameron Mitchell, the UK film watching public will be find out this week How To Talk To Girls At Parties. With a cracking cast, great soundtrack and a period setting that blends the birth of punk and space aliens against the backdrop of Croydon in 1977 there are plenty of hooks here. We’ve had great support from director John Cameron Mitchell and will be targeting fans of his and writer Neil Gaiman through a targeted online and social campaign.”
Also on Monday, this time from Acorn, is one of the cult TV hits of 2018, Keeping Faith. The series has come from nowhere and after launching on the BBC iPlayer became a word of mouth success, Its reputation was only enhanced when it was pulled from the service. Said Gareth Brown, Director Of Marketing, Production for Acorn Media, “Keeping Faith has been on quite a journey – first going out in Wales in Welsh on S4C, followed by BBC Wales in English. The BBC then experimented with iPlayer as a launch pad which proved really rather successful, drumming up excitement and leading up to its nationwide TV premiere on BBC One. And, as is proven time and again, where there’s interest, there’s more interest. This looks set to be one of the year’s bestsellers for Acorn DVD, and with Series Two set to film this autumn, we’ll all happily be Keeping Faith.”
Picturehouse Entertainment has a stirring release on Monday September 3 in the shape of one of the year’s most talked about films, Xavier Legrand’s debut Custody. It arrives with a welter of critical acclaim behind it (The Observer said it was “one of the most emotionally devastating cinema experiences of the past year”) and the DVD and Blu-ray SKUs both have the aded bonus of featuring the director’s short film Just Before Losing Everything, an Oscar-nominated title that features the same characters as the feature and adds more to the story. Commenting on the release, Nick McKay head of distribution for Picturehouse Entertainment said: "We're really excited to be launching Custody – it is an astounding debut from a powerful new cinematic voice. With the addition of Legrand's short film on both DVD and Blu-ray, this will be an unmissable release."
And from Curzon Artificial Eye comes the story of the woman who created one of horror’s most enduring characters, Mary Shelley. Elle Fanning stars at the eponymous writer, as the film follows her tempestuous relationship with Percy Shelley and her dreaming up Frankenstein after being challenged to pen a ghost story. Commenting on the release, the company’s Paul Diment said: “Mary Shelley is a beautifully moving period drama about the creation of her classic novel Frankenstein. Elle Fanning leads a solid cast of British talent including Douglas Booth, Tom Sturridge, Maisie Williams and Bel Powley. The release will be supported with national press and targeted online activity.”
Acquisition news and Manga has picked up a unique Japanese anime title in the shape of MFKZ, or, to give it its full international title, Mutafukaz. The film is a collaboration between a French comic book artist and Gallic digital company Ankama Animation working with Japanese animation experts Studio 4°C. It’s an anime sci-fi tale with elements of film noir, gang culture and even Lucha Libre and will benefit from a theatrical release on October 11 ahead of an eventual home entertainment bow. Commenting on the release, Manga marketing manager Andrew Hewson said: ““We’re working closely with multiple distributors to roll out a synchronised cinematic release across English speaking territories. It’s an amazingly creative and compelling project - a true mash-up of genres, influences and styles. We are really excited for audiences to see it!”
News of the forthcoming HMV-backed Legends of Football dinner, the annual event that brings together the entertainment industry and footballing heroes to raise cash for Nordoff Robbins music therapy charity. And as well as honouring Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, it’s this week been announced that Who hero Roger Daltrey will be headlining the event, due to take place at London’s Grosvenor House on October 8. Daltrey has a long association going back more than 40 years with the charity. Julie Whelan, Nordoff Robbins CEO said: “We’re so excited that Roger Daltrey will be performing at The Legends of Football Award night. In addition to being an incredible artist, Roger’s long-standing affiliation with Nordoff Robbins makes him the perfect choice to headline, and we can’t wait for what will be a fantastic evening on October 8th.” Gooner Daltrey said ”I’m delighted to be performing at this year’s Legends of Football event and I’m very much looking forward to October 8. It’s an honour to be involved with such a great cause and to be part of a wonderful night of football and music to celebrate the career of a true footballing legend, Frank Lampard, even if he is a Chelsea hero. I’m also very excited to help raise funds for Nordoff Robbins who do fabulous work to change the lives of vulnerable and isolated people through music. Having been amongst the first bands to support Nordoff Robbins when The Who played one of their first events back in 1976, it’s wonderful to still be able to help such a great organisation and a truly worthy cause.” Tickets and tables are available here.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Our community guidelines prohibit uploading any content that a person does not own, does not have the rights to, or are otherwise not authorised to use," it said. Doing so violates our terms of service and may make their account liable to DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] takedowns by third-party rights-holders. We were responsive to related reports."
Streaming platform Twitch on the KSI versus Logan Paul boxing bout, which drew 1 million viewers to illegal streams, more than the 800,000 paying to watch the YouTubers on, er, YouTube.
"It's actually very difficult to prevent the piracy of a live event where thousands of people are uploading new versions of the stream. Often it's actually humans - rather than just algorithms - that are looking for them, and to be fair to Twitch a good number did get taken down. But ultimately the question is how much competitive imperative was there for Twitch to be enforcing copyright for YouTube content - it has to deploy its resources where it sees fit for its core business."
Mark Mulligan from the consultancy Midia Research on the event…
“Disappointed in Twitch today for not actively banning streamers rebroadcasting the #KSIvLogan fight. They may have tried but to see that 1,000,000 were still watching it shows they didn’t try hard enough.”
YouTuber Life Of Tom on the event…
AT THE MOVIES
And so, just as Danny Boyle departs from one project - the next 007 film, aka Bond 25 as reported everywhere last week - so more details emerge of his next project. It's certainly one that's got tongues wagging this week. For the film, which may or may not be called All You Need Is Love stars Ed Sheehan as himself. Furthermore, it's set in a world where everyone has forgotten the songs of The Beatles - except one man, who Our Ed takes under his wing... this bizarre sounding film is due out in a year's time...
Another week, another new film from The Rock is announced, adding yet more to the ever-growing schedule of the hardest working man in show business. King will see him playing the titular ruler, King Kamehameha, who united the islands of Hawaii. It's being directed by Robert Zemeckis and such is Dwayne Johnson's pull, that the project was the subject of a fierce bidding war, one that was one, ultimately, by New Line and parent Warner.
Aaah, bless the ever-fast news cycle in the film world, especially in the comic book sector. For no sooner had rumours gathered pace that Alec Baldwin was set to star in the forthcoming Joker movie, than the star stepped forward to say he wasn't going to appear. So, a score of thinkpieces speculating on who he's play (Bruce Wayne's old man was the favourite) and discussing his suitability were spiked. Such is the life of a film website, we'd guess…
TWEET OF THE WEEK
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TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
Final Predator, more Red Band…
When politics goes tabloid…
Second trailer for the First Man…
All's Welles that ends Welles…
And here's the TV programme we're all waiting for…
And so, horror fans everywhere were converging on Leicester Square for Arrow Video FrightFest, the boutique label supported five-day event that we at The Raygun have long been writing about and reporting. And the proceedings kicked off with, among other things, Bad Samaritan, the Signature title due on home entertainment formats on October 8 and given a profile raising premiere at this year’s horror festival. As we’ve long noted, it’s the perfect launchpad for titles (you can see here and here) and the reaction bodes well for the release. As Signature’s Claire Loewenthal said: “Friday marks the PVOD release of David Tennant's thriller, Bad Samaritan having received its UK premiere at FrightFest's opening night on Thursday. Being compared by critics to 90s cult hits such as American Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Cape Fear, the film centres on a small-time crook who stumbles upon a sadistic serial killer, played by Tennant. Best described by Signature's Emilie Barra as a ‘down-and-dirty, twisty genre bender’, the film is receiving a limited theatrical play backed by a nationwide, cast supported media campaign ahead of its DVD bow in October.”
Still with Arrow Video FrightFest and, as ever, Halloween came early, although this year even more so. For the original, seminal slasher is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, with the franchise set to return to screens in an all new iteration and loads more activity (sumptuous soundtrack issues of the fourth and fifth instalments of the franchise from our pals at Death Waltz are out now on vinyl) is going on. The film is getting a special theatrical issue ahead of, further down the line, a Lionsgate released special edition. More on this later, but the restored version aired at Arrow Video FrightFest to a rapturous crowd as part of what organisers said is set to be another record-breaking year. The organisation’s Ian Rattray said: “With 70 odd films in this years line up we have the most diverse line up ever had and fans have responded in record numbers reenforcing the Arrow FrightFest’s position and the premiere event of its kind in the UK.”
As the features linked to above noted, it’s also an important testing ground for titles too, with acquisitions executives are also hanging around, looking for potential goodies to pick up. With the market for DTV and limited release horror titles increasingly tough to work, the ready-made approval that comes with a successful title could make all the difference. Take, if you will, The Ravers. The title, which focuses on a group of partygoers who head to a rave in a deserted warehouse only to find it has a hidden past that turns them into maniacs (we’ve been a few of those in the past, to be honest) Paul McEvoy, FrightFest co-director said: “We are absolutely delighted to be World Premiering Bernhard Pucher’s high octane, insanity filled film RAVERS at FrightFest. A terrific cast and a pounding soundtrack add to the club chaos and violent mayhem that explodes onscreen.” Director Bernhard Pucher added: “Premiering at FrightFest is both an honour and one of the most exciting things I've done in my career. I can't wait to share the film with people and I hope they have as much fun watching it as it was for me to make it!"
More on FrightFest next week on the newsletter once the dust (and blood, guts and gore) has settled, but it was good to see Arrow Video’s sponsorship working out so nicely, certainly across social media, and the event itself, where the imprint had a huge profile, horror fans couldn’t move for its omnipresent branding. Giving its initial thoughts on the branding, the label’s Mike Hewitt said: ”Arrow Video FrightFest kicked off in style last night and we’re thrilled to be back at the newly refurbished Empire, especially as this year’s headline sponsors. The cinema digital screen branding looks incredible, and there’s a buzzing audience looking forward to a full five days of outstanding genre films, building to a climax of our film Climax on Monday (in cinemas September 21). Swing by and pick up a bargain at the Arrow Video stall in the foyer all weekend.”
Also set to enjoy a high profile at Arrow Video FrightFest and with a keenly timed release to follow, is Lionsgate’s Ghost Stories, due on stores on Monday. It’s based on the Olivier Award-nominated, terrifying stage show. It boasts a cast featuring plenty of familiar faces (Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse among them) as well as long-time FrightFest collaborator Andy Nyman. Nyman himself, alongside Jeremy Dyson, will even be doing a live commentary to the film on Sunday evening, alongside further FF activity. Commenting on the release, the company’s Beth Hall said: “Carrying on from the hugely engaging theatrical campaign, we are targeting both fans of horror and of the cast, utilising the rave reviews and attention-grabbing creatives across TV, VOD, Online and Print. Stand-out activity included an experiential taste-along screening for influencers and journalists in partnership with Conjurer’s Kitchen, with a pre-show illusionist and Ghost Stories-themed terrifying edible ‘treats’ to enjoy throughout the film! Furthermore, FrightFest activity kicks off this Sunday, with a screening and live audio commentary from filmmakers Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, plus flyering activity all weekend. We have also invested in exclusive extras to feature on the Blu-ray and EST versions –including an hilarious featurette with the cast and filmmakers interpreting Rorschach ink blots - driving ownership across all platforms. Exclusive paper-based assets are also available in the Blu-ray, including a striking alternative poster by horror artist Graham Humphreys.”
One independent label working hard at restoring classic titles is Network, which has a brace of goodies out for the first time ever on Blu-ray on Monday August 27. Death Line is a British classic which blends arthouse and slasher, folk horror and urban, city weirdness. Starring Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee, it follows strange goings on on London’s underground, where tunnel workers have turned feral and even cannibal. It has been restored, as Network said, in a process involving “careful grain management, both automated and manual removal of film dirt and damage, and correction of major instability, warping and density fluctuations” and includes additional materials and a full booklet. Alongside this comes Assault, another gritty and more extreme classic Brit tale, starring Frank Finlay as a detective, this too has been extensively restored. Commenting on the titles, Network’s Tim Beddows said: “We’ve spent a lot of time over the last year revisiting our vast catalogue and setting out a long term HD restoration release strategy. Projects recently completed include a stunning restoration of the original Captain Scarlet, and these new restorations of Death Line and Assault, both from the original 35mm negatives, are the beginning of a feature film programme. Remastering and restoration is a rapidly growing part of the business and a natural bolt on to our technical studio, which, in turn, exists to service our prolific release schedule. It’s understated but we’re making our mark producing pictures that will be circulation for a lifetime.”
Connoisseurs of the art of titling films should be enamoured with the rather fantastic name for one of Monday’s big releases in the shape of the wonderfully named – deep breath now – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, arriving on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of Studiocanal hot on the heels of its one-week EST window. Here’s Studiocanal’s Olivia Dean on the release She said: “Delightful, charming, classy and heart-warming, the story is based on the best-selling novel by the same name. It centres around Juliet Ashton, played by Lily James, an aspiring author who comes across the society and heads to Guernsey wanting to know more about life under Nazi occupation. A dangerous mystery and romance unfolds showcasing great performances from a stellar cast including Michael Huisman, Jessica Brown Findlay, Matthew Good, Katherine Parkinson, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton. Retail set-up is looking strong and we're supporting the release with a national media campaign across TV, upmarket press and impactful online placements that showcase the cast and story. In addition we have promotions with James White soft drinks, Moshulu Shoes, Bloom flowers and Tastecard with instore POS and online placements. Book clubs and grassroots fans of the novel have been key for the film, and so we're working hard with a range of book influencers as well as The Reading Agency to ensure we reach this demographic. Visit Guernsey have also been fantastically supportive of the film and are running their own above the line campaign to complement our release, comprising TV, a Mail online takeover and statement outdoor at Southampton airport and Guernsey harbour.”
Also out on Monday is another acclaimed title, Tully, arriving from Paramount via Universal on DVD, with a glowing set of reviews. The film, starring Charlize Theron, comes from the same stable as the likes of Juno and Young Adult, the latter also starring Theron, and is a dark as you like black comedy about the ups and downs of motherhood. Commenting on the release, Universal’s Alicia Cho said: “It was great to work on a film that had such a strong and prestigious pedigree behind it. Charlize Theron is amazing in the main role and I think viewers will easily relate and love the honesty and raw humour that this film delivers. A must-see, especially for mums!”
After a flurry of activity recently, including its acquisition of Icon and its catalogue, Kaleidoscope is set to embark on a fevered period of activity, offering up, in Q4, one of the independent’s busiest and biggest release schedules ever. It is also beginning a partnership with Rakuten and its new Rakuten Cinema imprint, offering up premium vod, day and date releases, available in cinemas and via Rakuten’s digital service at the same time. The first release under this banner is due on September 7 in the shape of Hurricane. It’s a groundbreaking release not just for the partnership between Kaleidoscope and Rakuten, but also because of the marketing, which sees the former targeting not just mainstream UK cinemagoers, but bespoke Polish audiences too (the film tells the true story of a Polish-manned fighter squadron flying out of the UK during the Battle of Britain). Kaleidoscope has been involved with the project from an early stage through to its three-tiered theatrical strategy (widespread previews on September 2, a premiere on September 4 and the release across 75 screens three days later. Kaleidoscope’s commercial director Adam Sergeant said: “We have two weeks of TV, significant national print, nationwide outdoor including train stations and London Underground, and significant digital and mobile activity going up over the next week or so. PR is also great, with support from cast including Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson and the King of Polish Cinema, Marcin Dorocinski, plus numerous partnerships with military and Air Force bodies, including The RAF Museum at Hendon, The RAF Benevolent Fund, Help For Heroes, The Chelsea Pensioners, The Polish Cultural Institute and more. We also have a dedicated grass roots campaign underway to specifically target Polish markets, which includes print and digital advertising in a range of the UKs top Polish publications, plus we’ve recruited a very well connected Polish market specialist, who’s day job is as a business envoy to the Polish government – you can imagine he knows a lot of influential people! As an aside, this is also the first campaign we’ve run domestically in more than one language – all output has been produced in English and Polish. An exciting first for us.” Sergeant added: “This is an exciting one for us for several reasons – firstly it’s one of (if not the biggest so far) the UK’s biggest PVOD day and date releases, secondly, it’s with a film we’ve been involved in since script and financing, and thirdly, it’s with our new partners Rakuten Cinema, who are launching in the UK and Hurricane is its debut feature! It also comes at a really exciting time for us, as we enter a new phase of growth, with the best quality released schedule we’ve ever had moving forward into Q4 and beyond.”
One week after former Arrow acquisitions director Tom Stewart outlined his plans for a new project (see last week’s newsletter here), the former marketing director at the company Jon Sadler, who similarly left as the company shifted its strategy and priorities, has this week revealed his next project. The industry veteran, who boasts retail and sales experience alongside his impeccable track record of marketing films across all formats and throughout the time the industry has been shifting, stretching back from VHS to Blu-ray and vod, as well as theatrical in all its forms and with all different kinds of windows and release strategies, has set up his own marketing and consultancy company. Magus Marketing is offering expert advice and solutions for film-makers, producers, distributors, sales agents agencies and more, taking in all aspects of film and TV marketing and distribution, advising on the best routes to market, as well as how best to reach the right audience and in what format. Magus will further help and aid them to get their product on to shelves, screens and in cinemas around the country, building on innovative strategies he has developed, most recently at Arrow. He said: “After working in the industry for nearly 30 years, I have accumulated a great deal of experience, especially having worked across so many different areas, including retail and wholesale buying, studio and independent distribution marketing and acquisitions, as well as working agency-side in various capacities, all affording me rare insights into so many aspects of the industry. It is evident to me that film-makers and producers need a great deal of assistance in navigating all aspects of modern distribution, and I intend to offer advice, support and consultancy to anyone seeking to maximise their content in the current market. Magus Marketing can also act as a virtual agency, managing all aspects of film marketing and distribution, utilising a fantastic network of individuals and agencies.” Sadler told The Raygun: “I’ve worked across all platforms and I’ve come straight from working at the coal-face of releasing product, so I can help people find the best way to reach audiences in this fast-changing market.” Aiming to offer a friendly service, he’s already set up the website and is blogging about the dynamic marketplace over here www.magusmarketing.co.uk.
The clampdown on sellers of illegal set-top boxes, modified Kodi boxes and the likes, enabling consumers to watch Sky film channels and more without paying, continues apace. One of the latest to fall victim to it is Warren Gleave of Burnley, Lancs, sentenced to 16 months in jail after a prosecution brought together with the help of Sky. He admitted offences under the Fraud Act after earning more than £200,000 from the sale of illegal devices over a five year period and was sentenced at Burnley Crown Court. Sky head of litigation Matthew Hibbert said: “This case sends a clear message that piracy, in whatever form it takes, is illegal, and the repercussions for engaging in it can be severe. Legal expert at Sky’s lawyers Mishcon de Reya said: “More than ever, those who are illegally engaging in piracy are in jeopardy of being detected, prosecuted and convicted. Private prosecutions are being used increasingly by rights holders, which means it is no longer just the police and other state authorities investigating and prosecuting these crimes. Private prosecutions are instrumental in cases such as this, where those who break IP law and commit fraud can be held to account.”
Meanwhile, in Scotland, a man selling similarly dodgy devices and pirate-friendly kit to enable consumers to get around paying for Sky, other channels and films, has been fined a whopping £50,000 for flogging gear through Facebook. Luke Skinner had to pay the sum in damages at a hearing of the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Website Torrent Freak reported: “Skinner, a resident of Burntisland, sold pre-loaded Openbox VX and VX2 boxes on the social media network, as well as access to IPTV subscriptions. These allowed his customers to access unauthorised Sky channels for £35 per year, or £75/£85 for a two year deal with the box included.” Sky’s head of litigation Matthew Hibbert said: “Those who infringe copyrighted content do so at their own risk. This case is another example of the heavy price people who facilitate piracy can pay.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I want to address one of the most vibrant and interconnected ecosystems in human history. That, of course, is the internet. And as we meet, the healthy and vibrant internet that we all want is in serious jeopardy. The crescendo is rising within our ecosystem. The message is getting louder by the day: Internet platforms must bear responsibility. And they must do more to address the harms that, wittingly or not, they facilitate. Online platforms could increase their voluntary efforts to work with those affected to curb abuse of their services. Or perhaps Congress could recalibrate the online immunities to more explicitly require proactive steps as a condition of those protections. Online piracy is also the proverbial canary in a coal mine. The same pervasive theft that my industry faces is part of a continuum of toxic developments that harm all of us in this ecosystem – consumers, creators, and commercial operators alike.“If we want to bring back the internet we all want, it’s better to work together than cut each other off at the knees. There are too many online windows broken and left unfixed for us to do anything but take collective action – and take it now.”
MPAA chief Charles Rivkin tying in online piracy with wider Internet problems such as fake news, election interference, politics, threats, Internet hate crimes and much more.
AT THE MOVIES
Disney’s latest, and rather unique take on Winnie the Pooh, in the form of live action outing Christopher Robin, made its debut in the UK box office top 10 after taking more than £2.5 million in its opening frame. Other new entries included The Equalizer 2 with just short of £2 million, and The Festival with more than £1.4 million…
James Bond has dominated the news agenda over the past seven days, as news emerged at director Danny Boyle has exited the project over that old chestnut “creative differences”. Numerous reports and stories have followed in its wake, with the whole world and his wife speculating as to who would replace him and the reasons for his departure. Seems as if Boyle and the Broccoli empire behind production outfit Eon had opposing views as to 007’s direction, with Daniel Craig also weighing in. Now it seems as if the film might not make its autumn/winter 2019 release date and may go back as far as 2020… Stay tuned for more and more coverage…
It’s not even hit these shores yet – although its success un the US means that it’s been pulled forward in the schedule – but Warner is already planning a sequel to its hit US comedy Crazy Rich Asians. The film has scored big in the US and offers up a different kind of cast rather than the standard white middle class, boasting the UK’s Gemma Chan among its talent. And now director Jon M Chu has signed up again to work on a sequel…
Moe Top Gun sequel business, and the cast keeps on growing – latest to join Tom Cruise and the rest of the gang in this eagerly awaited but long-gestating sequel include Jon Hamm and Ed Harris. If it keeps growing at this rate expect a cast of thousands…
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Follow us on www.twitter.com/theraygun…
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
Here’s the Hurricane…
This gets better and better…
More from the Castle…
Hart to heart…
Playing Possum here…
THE OBLIGATORY GDPR BIT
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