It Was A Good Week For... Well, it's a week that's been dominated by The Hurt Locker and Lionsgate us have a whale of a time. And congratulations to Metrodome too (see below)...
It Was A Bad Week For... Well, you would say Avatar, but given its record-breaking box office haul, James Cameron is hardly going to miss an Oscar from his shelves, is he?    
Now, far be it from us to announce the Oscar winners – come on, you should have picked that up by now, and if you haven't, why not? – but we thought we'd run through some DVD-related elements. Before we move on to this year's big winner, Lionsgate's The Hurt Locker, we thought it worth mentioning one title that is a good few months away from release, Metrodome's The Secret In Their Eyes. The independent was celebrating after picking up the title for UK release well ahead of it winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, beating off strong competition from the favourites, A Prophet and The White Ribbon. The title is slated for a summer theatrical release, with DVD to follow in the autumn, and continues Metrodome's strong record in this field – two years ago The Counterfeiters picked up the same gong. Metrodome's Peter Urie, beaming with pride, said: "This is a film we believed in from the very start – we were the first territory to pick the film up outside of co-producers Argentina and Spain, proving yet again that we have an eye for discovering new distinctive voices in international cinema. We look forward to bringing this film to a UK audience."   
And so on to the juggernaut – or rather armoured vehicle – that is The Hurt Locker. It trounced all before it at the Academy Awards ceremony (we at The Raygun had actually plumped for it in our Lovefilm sweep, it was one of the handful we got right), picking up six on the night, including the prestigious Best Film gong and, in the Best Director category, a history-making award for the first ever woman winner, Kathryn Bigelow. And since then its sales have gone crazy, and are up around 100 per cent on the previous week, a figure that was in itself, buoyed by its similarly strong Oscar showing. "To win the double accolade of Best Picture and Best Director at the BAFTAs, and now the Oscars, is thrilling enough, but if we reach the number one and number two positions with both The Hurt Locker and Saw VI this week, it will be the absolute icing on the cake for Lionsgate UK,” said marketing director Marie-Claire Benson.
Don't just take Lionsgate's word for it either; HMV has enjoyed a massive surge in sales, with its figures trebling week on week. And, as the company pointed out, four out of every 10 were on Blu-ray, one of the highest ever figures on the format. HMV's new head of DVD Rudy Osorio said: "The Hurt Locker barely took £1 million at the box office when it first came out over a year ago – in fact it's one of the lowest-grossing best picture winners of all time, so there's clearly a huge amount of people that haven't seen this fantastic film yet. DVD sales were therefore always going to surge following its Oscar success as people rush to see it – but it's great to see that so many of them are doing so on Blu-ray, so that they can enjoy its amazing visual and sound effects in the spectacular high definition quality that it deserves."
Also enjoying strong sales on the back of its awards performance (even if Carey Mulligan was pipped at the final Oscar hurdle by Sandra Bullock) was E1's An Education, out this week. Aided by some cleverly placed marketing, including a spot in Channel 4's growing One Born Every Minute maternity doc (which drew more than 3.3 million viewers), it was on target for around 45,000 units in week one. "Both the BAFTA win, which saw us run a congratulatory ad to Carey in the Monday Evening Standard, and subsequent Oscar coverage continued to drive a momentum on the title. We have stickered the stock with a BAFTA win message.  All of the award buzz underpins our Mothers Day Gift communication on all marketing, generating the perfect storm for sales."
Lionsgate is now in the enviable position of vying with its own title, Saw VI, for the coveted number one slot in this week's charts. Saw VI, aided by some strong TV spots, some wonderful washroom ads ("The Best Slasher Yet!") in student bars and pubs, seen by an estimated 2.5 million people, and smart viral elements (see Site Of The Week, below), was only five per cent down on the previous Saw release (Saw V, in case you hadn't guessed), which, given the box office performance and the natural sequel law of diminishing returns, is a hugely impressive start. Lionsgate's Sayoko Tietz said: "We delivered an outstanding creative campaign with a fresh approach, focussing on the critical acclaim received for the sixth instalment. The continued success of the Saw franchise proves that Lionsgate is still the home of horror. We are looking forward to Saw 7 in amazing 3D."
Speaking of Lionsgate's horror films and its branded Fright Club range, the company is finalising its TV promotion for the forthcoming release Dread, the latest film boasting the involvement of horrormeister Clive Barker (and one that is rated among the best adaptations of his work, by those in the know and we at The Raygun can certainly vouch for it, after having been thoroughly disturbed and unsettled by it during a late night home viewing this week). The promotion for the film, which stars Twilight's Jackson Rathbone (a fact stickered on the sleeve) will air on Zone Horror and there will be plenty of online activity. Lionsgate's Sayoko Tietz said: "We are supporting Dread with a TV campaign on ZoneHorror and a substantial online campaign on IMdB, E-Type and Gorilla Nation. In addition to that we have used social networking and fan site activities to tap into the Jackson Rathbone fanbase."  


You don't always need an Oscar to help you out, however. Take Danny Dyer – he's hardly ever likely to win an Oscar is he? – but that doesn't stop him from being DVD gold... (We're laughing with him, not at him, by the way, we at The Raygun are Dyerhards, to coin a phrase for fans of the ultrageezer.) Revolver was this week celebrating its biggest ever week one for Dead Man Running, Dyer's latest outing, after it notched up sales of around 45,000 in its opening seven days. Revolver's James Wong said: "Building on the original theatrical release platform, we were able to achieve considerable momentum. From our trademark stunts such as the cash-drops, which caused healthy national PR stir, poster campaigns and strong retail presence through focused in-store POS on the high street, we were able to see these figures in just the first week. Danny’s fanbase is strong as well, his support for the film through personal appearances really helped push the title."
Also on the local front, hugely commercial, but playing to less geezers, E1 is continuing its ongoing relationship with indie Brit production powerhouse Vertigo Films after inking a deal that will see it releasing one of the year's biggest potential homegrown hits on DVD. Street Dance 3D is the much vaunted dancing flick that features Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson and dance act Diversity, who featured in the same series. The film opens at cinemas in May and is due on DVD in September. Vertigo has a long-standing relationship with E1, stretching back to the latter's days as Contender, but some of its recent outings, such as The Firm and 1 Day, have been released by other companies. E1's Jon Bourdillon said: "We are all truly excited about this project. The film really delivers and we are delighted to continue our excellent working relationship with Vertigo Films." Vertigo's Rupert Preston added: "We are delighted to be working with E1 on this title and were drawn on our current working relationship with them as well as their unprecedented success on the release of Twilight."
There's been acres of research and debate taking place over the past week, what with the BVA's Research Day, the PEVE event taking place in London and assorted reports being issued, here's a few highlights. Maybe we'll start with the highest first: $29.9 billion. That's the  worldwide, global box office revenue for 2009 (up more than 7.5 per cent on 2008), according to figures from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which has just released its annual, state of the nation report. US revenues were roughly a third of that figure (up 10 per cent), despite a drop in films released. A further 11 per cent of those were from 3D films, up from a mere two per cent in 2008. 
And 3D brings us on to the next report, from Kantar Worldpanel, into the 3D and digital markets. It suggested that some 63 per cent of consumers would be "interested in recreating the 3D experience in their homes". And of those 63 per cent, who were predominantly males, under 35-years-old, and into films, almost half were happy to pay more to do so. While nearly three out of 10 respondents said they would be disappointed if they had to watch a film they'd seen in 3D at cinemas as a 2D home entertainment option. For more of the BVA's research day figures, see The Raygun website next week...
More research, also from Kantar Worldpanel, into the BVA's Q4 Blu-ray advertising campaign. It states the TV advertising campaign was recalled by 9 million consumers and helped shift consumer attitudes towards Blu-ray. The BVA's Lavinia Carey said: "The results of the research are heartening and indicate that we are moving in the right direction. This year we will be looking at how we maintain momentum and continue to encourage members of the public to trade up to high definition software." 
Also on the BVA front, and also on our website next week, where we'll post a full list, the shortlist for nominations for this year's BVA awards, was published this week. We love the kind of strange battles it throws up: in the non-theatrical marketing initiative of the year, Danny Dyer (him again) and City Rats from Revolver takes on E1's Dead Snow Nazi zombies, as well as WDSHE's oh-so-cute puppies in Santa Buddies – The Legend Of Santa Paws (that's one fight we'd pay to see). In the £10 million and above box office film category, those cheeky prehistoric animals from Ice Age 3 take on Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, with the vampires from E1's Twilight somewhere in between... The ceremony takes place on April 22, with a few tickets available from Emma at the BVA on 020 7436 0041.

Oscars-aside, one recent winner has been Lovefilm, which was ranked number one by online experts Experian Hitwise for the Entertainment (Movies) category for the second half of 2009. It was also fourth in the Shopping category for Video And Games. Lovefilm's marketing chief Simon Morris said: "It is great news to see that we’re on top for movies in the UK and gaining a steady march on other e-tailers too.  As our streaming offering continues to grow and we get set to launch direct to TVs, we look forward to maintaining our status as a digital innovator and improving on these results further to make LOVEFiLM the number one place for all film entertainment in the UK."
Universal's indi VISION is continuing to build its reputation, both as a cutting edge imprint at the studio, but also in terms of its increasing acquisition activity. The major has just picked up psychological thriller Spiral for UK DVD release. Directed by Adam Green (who also helmed indi VISION horror Hatchet) and co-directed by star Joel Moore, fresh out of Avatar, which follows a woman (The Ring's Amber Tamblyn) who befriends a co-worker, only to find he may have a far darker side... Commenting on the deal, indi VISION's Samantha Haycock said: "We are looking forward to working so closely with as talented and passionate a film-maker as Joel Moore. His support for, and commitment to, the UK release is invaluable." Spiral will be released on DVD on April 26.
Also on the acquisition trail, Second Sight has picked up one of the last remaining unreleased gems from director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's catalogue. World On A Wire, also due on April 26 as part of a two disc set, is a made for television science fiction classic that effectively pre-dates The Matrix by a generation. Never available before, it has been fully restored by the Fassbinder Foundation and already screened to great acclaim at the Berlin Film Festival. The fact that the Foundation approached Second Sight itself, after seeing its work on the director's Berlin Alexanderplatz is testament to the label's reputation. Second Sight's Chris Holden said: " I knew of the film and knew it had never been available, so was very happy to work with them and handle the UK release. The restoration premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was a big success. I think there'll be a good market for this, obviously the Fassbinder fan base but also the sci-fi fans as well." 
North of the border to Scotland, where The Raygun sent one of its foreign correspondents (that was a joke, by the way) for the latet addition to the ever-expanding Frightfest brand, Frightfest Glasgow (sponsored by's online Horror Store). Our reviewer was, naturally, checking films with a strong video potential, and, after saying it was one of the best events to appear under the Frightfest banner for some time, recommended the following: Frozen, due from Momentum further down the line ("best film of the weekend"); A Lizard In A Woman's Skin (due from Optimum in a fully restored version); Splice, also from Optimum, a "clever mix of sci-fi and horror")[REC]2, which E1 has for UK release ("a fantastic sequel"); the 2001 Maniacs sequel picked up by Anchor Bay ("a solid DVD release") and one that split the audience down the middle, Amer, a tribute to Italian giallo thrillers, that was as much arthouse as it is horror. In addition to that lot, there were also vintage trailers and some guest appearances, including horror names such as Neil Marshall and Chris Smith, showing extended clips of their forthcoming titles, Centurion and Black Death respectively, and Jake West showing some deleted scenes from Doghouse. Roll on the next Frightfest experience…


"Something tells me you all didn't really watch the film... " Sandra Bullock at the Razzies,  where she surprised those present by turning up to collect her Worst Actress award for All About Steve, one night before winning the Oscar for Best Actress. Not only did she earn credibility and kudos by poking fun at herself, but she also plugged All About Steve's DVD release (May 17 in the UK, via Fox, if you're asking). "I'll show up next year if you promise to watch the movie..."
We at The Raygun love the work that's being down on DVD by our pals at the BFI and the forthcoming March 22 release  The COI Collection: Design For Today is typical of its work. Pooling rare and unseen documentary films from the government's Central Office Of Information, it looks at design from a bygone British age, from the post war years and Joyce Grenfell to the design-friendly 80s and Peter Greenaway's documentary on Terence Conran. Additionally, it has put a modern spin on proceedings – popsters Saint Etienne have given new scores to two of the shorts. A worthy release that will appeal to anyone with a passing interest in design... 

Theatrical exhibitors who had their nose put out of joint by Disney's plans to shorten the theatrical to DVD window fpr Alice In Wonderland were probably greeting the strong opening bow for Tim Burton's latest visual feast with mixed feelings. On the one hand they'll be welcoming its opening weekend figures of £10.55 million at UK cinemas, a hugely impressive figure by anyone's standards. However, its lucrative performance means they probably can't cry foul or even spout "I told you so" to Disney. One can only wait for its impending DVD release (12 weeks and counting...). It was the only new entry in a top 10 that saw Avatar at number two and The Crazies continue its decent run at number three, it has now taken more than £2.5 million. Meanwhile, in the US Alice also dominated proceedings, becoming the biggest 
We all know that trailers can generate tons of excitement – heck, why do you think we have a whole section of 'em here on our newsletter. But the brouhaha caused by the teaser for the new Tron film – which at almost 30 years between films is one of the longest gaps ever between original and sequel – has surprised even us. A couple of weeks ago, following an online campaign that spread like wildfire among web-savvy film fans (ie most of them), a select band were invited to a special event held at five IMAX cinemas around the world, one of which was in London. Loads of buzz generated, although some were left feeling a little cheated, as all they saw was a two minute trailer. Excellent as it is, we don't know if we'd have travelled all the way to Waterloo just to see it. But there's no denying, this is an eagerly anticipated film. Judge the trailer for yourself here: 
Now we always maintain that no one is that interested in the machinations of the trade press (hey, you're not bothered about how it gets here, or the effort that goes into this, you're just happy it turns up), but there's been some fascinating goings-on behind the scenes at US trade stalwart Variety. First they get rid of their main film critic, Todd McCarthy, who's been there for what seems like ever. Secondly, and intriguingly, they're also being sued by the producers of Iron Cross in a major lawsuit, which alleges that, despite the fact they'd promised to stump up $400,000 for an Oscar campaign with the magazine, Variety effectively killed off the movie's chance of awards by printing an unfavourable review (one that was later pulled). They'd already spent more than half the total planned before the review appeared... The Raygun wisely declines to comment further... 
It's been some three years since its slightly ambigious ending, but stories are emerging of forthcoming plans of The Sopranos creator David Chase. He is writing and directing a film for Paramount, although its subject matter, a tale of a rock band in the 60s, is a world away from New Jersey mobsters. Given his CV, however, we can't wait...   
Lots of Oscar fun and activities and, in a secret screening last week, The Raygun saw what promises to be one of the best films of the year. More next week... 
The savvier Raygun readers should already be acquainted with the wonders of slashfilm, one of our favourite movie blogs, but one addition to the site this week, a Where's Wally-style image commissioned by Lionsgate to mark the release of Saw VI (see story above) really is worth a mention of its own. Where's Billy was created by cult illustrator and artist Daniel David Freeman... and it's ace. See it here and brighten up your day by playing along: 
And lo, it came to pass on this day (Thursday March 11), the Twitterverse (not that we like that word, it's just the easiest one to use) went bonkers when the new Twilight trailer went online... 
Here's a sample: OMG! OMG! OMG! Twilight Eclipse trailer OMG! OMG! OMG! Can't breathe OMG! OMG! OMG! Lautners abs OMG! OMG! Hope they all die in this one 
For pages and pages of the stuff, see here:
Worth it for the blast of Sabbath. Everyone – Rourke, Downey Jr and now Sam Rockwell, look like they're having the time of their lives...
It actually looks a lot better than you might have thought...
Anchor Bay has smartly picked this neat-looking psychological thriller for UK release... 
Actually, seeing as it's Ashton, maybe this should have been in our Tweet section...
Angelina Ballerina Just Dance (HIT)
Aquarian 4 (MVM)
Banded Brothers (2entertain)
The Bargee (Optimum) 
The Bill Volume 4 (Network)
Born Survivor Bear Grylls America (Demand DVD)
Boy Dominic  The complete Series (Network)
Chuggington (2entertain)
Clash Of The Titans (original) (Warner) (Blu-ray)
Cold Souls (Universal indi VISION)
Crimson Wing (WDSHE) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Death Note Relight Vol 2 (Manga)
Diary Of A Nobody (2entertain)
Dr Quinn Medicine Woman The Movie (Revelation)
Eastbound And Down Season 1 (HBO)
Fate Stay Night 3 (MVM)
The 4th Kind (EV) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Glasgow Murder Capital (Demand DVD)
Grandpa In My Pocket (Warner)
Hooked On Fishing With Paul Young (Demand DVD)
House Of The Devil (Metrodome) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The House That Fear Built: Most Haunted Live (Universal Playback)
In The Night Garden (BBC/2entertain)
Jackass The Lost Tapes (Paramount)
Jimmy’s Farm Series 1 (Revelation)
Johnny Mad Dog (Momentum)
Kisses (Optimum)
London’s Burning Series 13 (Network)
Look At Life (Network)
Moody And Pegg (Network)
Most Haunted Live (2entertain)
The Nation’s Health (Network)
NBA Bloopers Vol 1 (Clear Vision)
Ninja (Lionsgate) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Nora Roberts (four titles) Delta)
Not Forgotten (Anchor Bay)
Paintball (Icon)
Paranormal Entity (Anchor Bay)
Paul Merton In Europe (2entertain)
The Penguins Of Madagascar Operation Penguin Takeover (DreamWorks/Paramount)
Romeo x Juliet 2 (MVM)            
Rozen Maiden (MVM)
Scotland Revealed (Demand DVD)
The Scots At War (Demand DVD)
Secret Diary Of A Call Girl Series 3 (Warner)
A Serious Man (Universal)
Seven Ages Of Britain (@entertain)
Slayers box set (MVM)
Survival Of The Dead (Optimum) (DVD and Blu-ray)
We Live in Public (Dogwoof)
The White Ribbon (Artificial Eye) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Within These Walls Series 3 (Network)
Wrong Side Of Town (E1 Entertainment)
WWE History Of The World Wrestling Championship (Silver Vision)
X Volume 5 (MVM)
Zombieland (SPHE) (DVD and Blu-ray)
10 Things I Hate About You (WDSHE)
Across The Hall (DNC)
Bad Mothers’ Handbook (ITV)
Bangkok Adrenaline (Optimum)
Barbie In A Mermaid Tale (Universal)
The Best Of The Wiggles (HIT)
Beverly Hills 90210 Season 8 (Paramount)
The Blair Witch Project (Lionsgate)
Bodysong (BFI)
Breathles (Terracotta)
The Card Player (Arrow)
Chocky (Revelation)
The Clouded Yellow (Eureka)
The COI Collection: Design For Today (BFI)
Dance Of The Dragon (High Fliers)
Darker Than Black Complete Series Box Set (Manga)
Dead Zone Season 6 (Paramount)
The Double Life Of Veronique (Artificial Eye) (Blu-ray)
Dumbo Special Edition (WDSHE)
Emergency Ward 10 Volume 3 (Network)
Falling Up (Anchor Bay)
The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life (Metrodome)
Fish Tank (Artificial Eye) (Blu-ray)
Fist Of Legend (Cine Asia) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Gruffalo (E1 Entertainment)
Harry Brown (Lionsgate) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The High Command (Optimum)
How To Rob A Bank (Scanbox)
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show Season 1 (Fabulous)
I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With (High Fliers)
JAG Season 7 (Paramount)
Katyn (Artificial Eye) (Blu-ray)
King Of Queens Season 7 (Paramount)
MacGyver Season 6 (Paramount)
Melrose Place Season 4 (Paramount)
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (WDSHE)
A Mind To Kill The Complete Second Series (Network)
Mission: Impossible Season 7 (Paramount)
Mulan Musical Masterpiece Edition (WDSHE)
The Muppets Studio Presents Studio DC Almost Live (WDSHE)
A Nos Amours (Eureka Masters Of Cinema)
The Objective (Scanbox)
Paranormal Activity (Icon) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Passion Of The Christ (Icon) (Blu-ray)
Platinum Pingu (Hit)
Salvage (Revolver)
Saved By The Bell Season 1 (Fabulous Films)
Skins Series 4 (4DVD)
Sous Le Soleil De Satan (Eureka Masters Of cinema)
Star Trek: The Original Series Season 3 (Paramount) (Blu-ray)
The Stendahl Syndrome (Arrow)
Street Hawk The Complete Series (Fabulous Films)
Talk To Me (Verve)
Tank Overhaul (Demand DVD)
Terror At The Opera (Arrow)
Timmy Time: Timmy’s Spring Surprise (BBC)
Top Gear The Great Adventures Volume 3 (2entertain) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Twilight: New Moon (E1 Entertainment)
Twin Peaks Season 2 (Universal Playback)
UFC 105 (Clear Vision)
The Valley Of The Bees (Second Run)
Zidane (Artificial Eye) (Blu-ray)

The Ape (ICA Films)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Momentum)
Green Zone (Universal)
Hachi: A Dog's Tale (Entertainment)
The Kreutzer Sonata (Axiom)
Shutter Island (Paramount)
Under Great White Northern Lights (More2Screen)
The Bounty Hunter (Sony Pictures)
Dirty Oil (Dogwoof)
Happy Ever Afters (Verve)
House Of The Devil (Metrodome)
I Love You Phillip Morris (E!)
My Last Five Girlfriends (Paramount)
Old Dogs (Disney)
Salvage (Revolver)
The Scouting Book For Boys (Pathe)
Sons Of Cuba (Sons Of Cuba Ltd)
The Spy Next Door (Paramount/Momentum)
Staten Island (Warner)

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