Alice Turns To Malice
Up, Up And Away
Wide open Road
Inbetweeners to bestsellers
Squire to Acorn
Optimum heads to valleys
Metrodome's for mums
Halo around Warner
Dyer's still tops
Quote Of The Week
Release Of The Week
At The Movies
Twitter Of The Week
Trailers Of The Week
Coming Soon ON DVD and at cinemas

The Box
It Was A Good Week For... Fox and its release Avatar, which became the
biggest grossing film ever at UK cinemas (see below for more)...

It Was A Bad Week For... Cinema exhibitors, faced with shortened windows and not too happy about it (see below for more)...

Welcome then to the first issue of The Raygun, a new DVD and Blu-ray trade
venture. The Raygun has two distinct elements – this weekly newsletter which
will be landing in your In-boxes on a Thursday afternoon and a website,
which will be going live early next week (we'll notify you when we're ready
to go). Brought to you by, among others, trade press veteran Tim Murray
(launch editor of both timecode and RRP magazines), The Raygun is aiming to
inject a bit of fun, enthusiasm and energy back into the industry, at the
same time as reporting faithfully on news and forthcoming product releases.
"The industry's been crying out for this ever since the sad demise of RRP
and HEW," said Murray. "We hope to give our business the kind of exciting
publication it deserves." For more information, and to discuss editorial and
advertising opportunities contact And if there's anyone
you know who should be receiving the newsletter, then please send their
email address to We hope you enjoy this; right, let's
crack on...  

Theatrical exhibitors were locked in negotiations with senior executives
from Disney this week over the latter’s reported plans to cut the theatrical
to DVD window for the forthcoming Tim Burton blockbuster Alice In
Wonderland. The film, starring Johnny Depp, is due out at cinemas on March
5. Disney is believed to be keen on bringing this particular film to market
quicker on all platforms, with a suggested UK home entertainment release
date around the late May bank holiday. As well as capitalising on the half
term holidays, it would also enable the studio to get the film into the
marketplace before the industry shuts down for a month for the World Cup (or
shorter when and if England are knocked out...). But the exhibitors – or at
least the big three – are holding firm. Four months theatrical to DVD
window, they say, or they won’t let the film play at their cinemas across
the UK. Similar negotiations are taking place in other territories. Talks
were continuing as The Raygun went to press, but we could be faced with the
prospect of one of the year’s biggest films playing at a handful of cinemas
and almost following a direct to DVD (aka DTV) route. What’s most intriguing
about the whole concept is that it the theatrical exhibitors’ intransigence
is eerily reminiscent of the rental dealers’ stance some 10 years ago. And
we all remember what happened there...

Meanwhile, a quartet of talent involved with the Disney/Pixar's Up are
jetting into the UK next week not only for the BAFTA awards, but also to
help promote Monday's DVD and Blu-ray release of the masterful Up. Pixar
mainstay voicing talent John Ratzenberger (Cliff in Cheers for those of over
a certain age, Hamm in Toy Story and the only voice to appear in every Pixar
feature for younger audiences), writers Pete Docter and Bob Peterson as well
as composer Bob Giacchini will be conducting a series of press and media
interviews while the two scribes will also be hosting a webchat on Empire
magazine's site. 

Icon Home Entertainment has this week confirmed the release date for its
post-apocalyptic tale The Road. The Viggo Mortensen starrer, one of a
quartet of awards-friendly, prestigious films due from the company in the
coming months, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 17. The film has
already earned critical plaudits on the way to notching up some £2.5 million
plus at UK cinemas, as well as helping propel the Cormac McCarthy source
novel to the top of the bestseller charts. For more on another of Icon's
forthcoming biggies, see below in our Release Of The Week section.

4DVD is due to meet with production executives imminently to begin
discussions over the third series of The Inbetweeners. The show, which
(deservedly in our opinion) was the bestselling comedy series of 2009 in
volume terms, has become arguably THE TV-on-DVD success story of the
post-iPlayer/40D/youtube world, with sales soaring from 5,000 for the first
week of the first series to a whopping 740,000 across the brand. It has also
offered a route map to success, starting on a digital channel (E4), building
a loyal following, strong word of mouth and crossing over to the mainstream.
That it has done this on DVD despite being available on a myriad of other
formats, such as Channel 4's own on demand service, shows that despite
competition, TV on DVD can still be a strong proposition. Its potential is
enhanced by extra material for the DVD, hence the forthcoming meeting to
discuss potential additional features. "Yes, it is available to watch on
youtube or on 4OD, but the strong sales have proven it is still a DVD that
people want to own as part of their collection. We also work closely with
the writers to create some fantastic extras to add value to the DVD, as the
dedicated fans are keen to have access to anything exclusive or unseen,"
said 4DVD's Karla Berry. Filming is set to start in April, with the DVD
likely to be release in the autumn, the first time the series has been
released within Q4.

Acorn has announced the appointment of Helen Squire as product manager.
Squire is re-entering the industry after time off spent travelling. The
former Entertainment Rights, EUK and Woolworths staffer is due to start on
March 1. Commenting on her appointment, Acorn's Paul Holland said: "I'm
thrilled that we have been able to get Helen to come and join our marketing
team, she will bring a wealth of industry experience and energy into the
business. Her experience at the retail end of the business will develop our
thinking on new releases and campaign activity and we can only benefit from
this appointment. Acorn has a great year in 2009 and enjoyed double digit
growth again, the challenge is to do that again in 2010 and I am sure this
appointment will be a key part of what we need to do to achieve that."

Some smart marketing activity from Optimum Releasing as it continues to sift
through parent Studio Canal's vast film library looking for gems to release
to the UK DVD sector. It's just released Proud Valley, a black and white
classic starring American singer Paul Robeson and set in a Welsh mining
community. Spotting an opportunity, especially in Wales, Optimum not only
gave the film a long overdue release, but also organised a special screening
of the film in Cardiff last Sunday (February 7), showing the film, a short
about UK mining and also hosting a panel discussion about Welsh film. The
event and release also attracted press and television coverage in Wales.
Optimum's Mylene Bradfield said: "The screening was a phenomenal sell out
success with queues out the door and as a result, there are now tentative
plans to tour the film around Wales. The Proud Valley is yet another
representation of what we have to hand with the vast resource of the Studio
Canal library that we’re able to keep 'mining' to great effect – rather than
leaving it as a forgotten title on a long list of the unreleased, we decided
that based on its regional interest in Wales and the star power of civil
rights activist Paul Robeson, it deserved to be published on DVD for its
70th anniversary and serviced to key targets nationwide, with particular
focus in Wales." Meanwhile, Optimum has now gone back to the Studio Canal
library looking for more gems with regional potential to dig up...

Some more canny marketing, this time from Metrodome, which is promoting its
forthcoming release of Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman, by adding a new
date to the calendar – Mother's Day Eve. The date falls on March 13, the
night before Mothering Sunday and days after the film is given a platform
theatrical and DVD release. Some 200 groups of mums will have the
opportunity to win their own house party screenings, with Asda vouchers for
the top 20 to celebrate in style. The event is being supported by,
the mothering website, and Apollo cinemas will also be holding special

And even more clever marketing ideas will surround the release of We Live In
Public, the documentary about Josh Harris, Internet innovator and slightly
deranged character. Dogwoof's March UK release falls neatly with a major
multi-city simulcast event being held in the US, which will see screenings
taking place at the same time, with a live Q&A webcast and live performance
party following.   

The convergence between filmed entertainment continues apace, but rather
than film to game adaptations, we're now seeing more and more games being
turned into movie spin-offs. The latest is next Monday's release of Halo
Legends from Warner. The series of seven stories within one film is based on
the game, which has sold 27 million copies worldwide, and has been put
together by some of Japan's finest anime talents. A special screening was
held last week in London's Soho as part of the ongoing campaign. Warner
product manager Dan Gilson said: "The event was really well attended by
journalists and bloggers which has resulted in a great spread of coverage.
The campaign is coming along nicely too; our pre-orders are very strong,
media is now hitting and we’ve got great distribution across all retail."

Proof – if it were needed – that Danny Dyer is still the king when it comes
to DVD, comes from his spiritual home, Revolver. The independent, which has
more than its fair share of Dyer releases, sold a whopping 26,000 copies of
City Rats in January. That total was the same as its pre-Christmas, December
sales and one of its best months ever.

"It's a groundbreaking result for a groundbreaking film. To be the biggest
film in box office history after only eight weeks of release is simply
amazing." Fox theatrical md Ian George commenting on the juggernaut that is
Avatar, which has now become the highest grossing film EVER at British
cinemas, its £71.6 million haul taking it past Universal's Mamma Mia and
Avatar director James Cameron's own previous outing, Titanic. Fox is now
readying itself for the DVD and Blu-ray release later this year...

Icon is readying itself for its what should comfortably be its highest
selling title since it ramped up its home entertainment division some three
years ago. Paranormal Activity is due on March 22 and its arrival on DVD
comes on the back of a £10 million plus threatrical release. Director Oren
Peli has this week been recording a DVD commentary – a UK exclusive and
something of a coup for Icon, as Peli hadn't done one for the US release
– as well as judging Icon's youtube promotion that saw consumers submitting
their own Paranormal Activity-style clips. The TV campaign will mirror the
theatrical marketing. Whereas the former featured audiences watching the
film in cinemas, the DVD campaign will feature people watching the chiller
in their own homes. The five second blipverts, appearing on terrestrial and
key digital stations, will carry the key message "don't watch it alone".
"We're having a bit of fun with it, rather than cutting down the trailer,"
said Icon's head of marketing Chris Warrington. Post-release the TV will
continue, reverting to more conventional ads. Outdoor and press forms the
rest of the traditional campaign, while Icon is currently putting together
assorted online and mobile initiatives, which will include the likes of a
special helpline, games and activities, all centred on a Facebook page. For
more updates, keep an eye on our website, which will also feature an
exclusive look on the Paranormal Activity home viewing experience. See from next week.

In the US, Avatar was finally knocked off the top spot (not that Fox should
be complaining – it's been there for seven weeks and notched up record after
record on its way past the $2 billion barrier. What was perhaps more
surprising was the film that knocked it off its perch - Dear John. The
topical romcom (he's off fighting for the US overseas) was expected to do
solid business, but maybe not rake in the $35 million it earned at the
weekend. On these shores, Avatar continued to march on (see elsewhere in the
newsletter), while below it, the more traditional Disney fare The Princess
And The Frog outdid its CGI-animated rival Astor Boy (E1). The former took
£2.4 million in its first weekend on general release, while the latter
notched up a touch over £1 million, narrowly edging out Invictus by a few
pounds. The only other new entry was the Paramount/Momentum release of Youth In Revolt, which took almost £750,000.

The eighth series (or Day 8, as producers refer to it as) of 24 is up and
running in the US and, in the UK, on Sky 1 (and we at The Raygun are as
addicted as ever), and now Fox's film and television arms are discussing the
next step for the Kiefer Sutherland action series based in near-real-time.
And it looks as if, after almost a decade on our televisions, 24 is, at
last, moving to the big screen. According to reports, a writer has been
(Billy Ray, who could only be an American with a name like that, who also
penned the film adaptation of another TV series, State Of Play as well as
Flightplan) has been hired to come up with a script, which is likely to
follow Sutherland's Jack Bauer into Europe... The whole deal, however, is
dependent on the future of the series, which may or may not have a ninth
outing. Its success overseas – it's hugely popular in the UK and Europe – is
seen as being a plus. Our only question would be if the film has a running
time of 90 minutes, will they call it One And A Half instead of 24?

Meanwhile, franchise news of the week comes from Paramount, which is said to
have confirmed a release date for the fourth instalment in the Mission:
Impossible series for 2011. Tom Cruise is back in the role of Ethan Hunt for
the billion dollar plus revenue earner, with JJ Abrams overseeing as
producer, from a script developed by writers whose previous credits include
Alias and the US version of Life On Mars.

It may not exactly be on everyone's radar, but the global Twitterverse is
banging on about MNIK. For those that don't know, this is the huge Bollywood
film My Name Is Khan, opening worldwide today...

This has literally just gone live, and boy are we excited...

Don't tell us you didn't like the first one. A massive DVD hit from the last
decade gets a sequel, at last...

Fro the director of The Host, this looks pretty exciting...

Best case scenario: Snakes On A Plane. Worst case scenario: it actually
turns out like Snakes On A Plane. You've gotta love the title though.

Adam (Fox)
A Living Hell On Earth: Most Haunted Live (Universal Playback)
Attack On Leningrad (Metrodome)
The Avengers Series 3 (Optimum)
Barney Top 20 Countdown (HIT)
Batman The Brave And The Bold Volume 2 (Warner)
Ben 10 Alien Force Volume 2 (Warner)
Black Lagoon box set (MVM)
Borderland (Momentum)
Caught In The Draft (Optimum)
Code Name The Cleaner (Verve) DVD and Blu-ray)
Demon Warriors (SPHE)
Discovery Channel Top 10 Fighters (Demand DVD)
Discovery Channel Top 10 Bombers (Demand DVD)
Discovery Channel Top 10 Helicpters (Demand DVD)
Fate Stay Night 2 (MVM)
The Gentle Touch Series 3 (Network)
George Carlin Life IS Worth Losing (Anchor Bay/Starz)
The Go-Between (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
Go Diego Go! Moonlight Rescue (Paramount)
Halo Legends (Warner) (DVD and Blu-ray)
La Grande Vadrouille (Optimum)
Heli Loggers (Demand DVD)
Homefront Britain (Demand DVD)
The Ladykillers (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
The Leopard (BFI) (Blu-ray)
Life On Mars (US) Complete Season 1 (Fox)
More Than A Game (Lionsgate)
Murdoch Mysteries S2 (ITV)
Nanny McPhee Bumper Edition (Universal)
National Geographic – Megastructures Super Copters (Demand DVD)
National Geographic – Megastructures Super Rigs (Demand DVD)
National Geographic – Megastructures Super Subs (Demand DVD)
NBA Champions Boston Celtics (Clear Vision)
Nina And The Neurons Go Inventing (2entertain)
Ong-bak The Beginning (SPHE) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Open Graves (Icon)
Pandorum (Icon) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Pierrot Le Fou (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
Planet Hulk (Lionsgate)
The Pleasure Garden (BFI)
Police And Thieves (BFI)
The Prince And Me 4 (Icon)
Quest Into The Unknown With Josh Bernstein (Demand DVD)
Raising The Wind (Optimum)
The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes Series 2 (Network)
Romeo x Juliet 1 (MVM)
Satyajit Ray's Company Limited (Mr Bongo Films)
Satyajit Ray's The Stranger (Mr Bongo Films)
Siege Of Pinnchgut (Optimum)
The Shouting Men (Kaleidoscope)
Up (WDSHE) (DVD, DVD and Blu-ray combi)

Anonyma: A Woman In Berlin (Metrodome)
Battle For Terra (The Works)
Beyond The Pole (Shooting Pictures)
Food, Inc (Dogwoof)
Letter From An Unknown Woman (BFI)
Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief (Fox)
Ponyo (Optimum)
Pretty Woman (Park Circus)
A Single Man (Icon)
Takeshis (Artificial Eye)
Valentine's Day (Warner)
Winter In Wartime (Kaleidoscope)
The Wolfman (Universal)

Celine: Through The Eyes Of The World (Sony)
A Closed Book (Eyeliine/Atlantic)
Crazy Heart (Fox)
The Headless Woman (New Wave)
The Last Station (Optimum)
The Lovely Bones (Paramount)
Solomon Kane (Entertainment)
The Unloved (ICA)  

The Raygun
7 Lightcliffe Road
London N13 5HD

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