NEWSLETTER :: December 23 2010
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It was a good week for… The Expendables, again, and fair play to John Bishop, the season's top comic…

It's been a bad week for…
Weather, weather, weather, playing havoc with everyone's Christmas shopping…
Christmas business is never predictable, as anyone with any experience of our industry will tell you, and each year has its own uncertainties (when will Christmas sales start, how will they work and so on), but the appalling weather over the past week – and the nation's inability to deal with it – has made it even more unpredictable. So with last Saturday supposedly being the big one, physical retailers were looking forward to a bumper day's business – and then the snow came. Shopping centres such as Brent Cross shuttered their doors, and yet others – Manchester's Trafford Centre, for example – saw record footfall. Much analysis needs to be done as to the nature of online and physical sales and how the weather affected them and the answer thus far is that there's no answer yet. But anecdotal evidence looks good. We were in HMV's 150 Oxford Street store yesterday and the DVD department was heaving. Every till was manned and there were still queues… An HMV spokesman told The Raygun: "Obviously the adverse weather conditions have presented a few additional challenges in recent weeks, though the impact has been patchy. Clearly, Scotland and the east coast have borne the brunt, while pockets in areas such as Northern Ireland, Wales, the South and even London have also been hit – Brent Cross shopping centre was closed last Saturday, for example. Conversely, other shopping locations, including the likes of the Trafford Centre in Manchester, have been flying. It shows that when families can get out and about to do their Christmas shop, they do so in large numbers, with CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray and other entertainment products remaining massively popular as last-minute gift purchases. We're seeing a big surge in-store in these final few days before Christmas, with many of our stores absolutely heaving, particularly now that all the online shopping is done and dusted. We're confident the trend will pick up again from Boxing Day, weather permitting, as shoppers hit the high street to work off their Christmas dinners in order to visit the Sales and pick up a few bargains or redeem their gift cards."
And the winners in sales terms? Well, the coveted Christmas number one slot went to Lionsgate's The Expendables. The title sold more than 386,800 units in its first week of release, on the back of an impressive marketing campaign. It boasted a 20 per cent split on Blu-ray, impressive given the seasonal increase in DVD gifting at this time of year. While other titles may have overtaken it this week (see below), it is the Christmas number one in the same way X-Factor's Matt Cardle has won the equivalent spot in the singles market. Lionsgate's Nicola Pearcey said: "We are thrilled that UK consumers helped us to achieve our biggest ever week one release with The Expendables. The results are a fantastic end to 2010 for Lionsgate UK, so it’s a well deserved result for everyone who has worked so hard across the business."

One title that went the distance was Inception, which enjoyed an, ahem, dream run in to Christmas Day with a hugely impressive final showing. It is set to take the number one slot in the final days leading up to Christmas when the next OCC chart is announced and has sold more than 1 million units in the last 15 days, marking it out as obviously the choice as the home entertainment Christmas present for 2010. Here's hoping we've got one in our Christmas stocking…
The Expendables was one of four new entries in the top 10 as compiled by the Official Charts Company combined sales top 10 (it topped the Blu-ray charts too), with Knight And Day (Fox), Salt (SPHE) and The Last Airbender (Paramount) all making appearances. Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks/Paramount) topped the children's chart, Les Miserables (Universal) the music chart, Diversity Dance Fitness Fusion the sport and fitness top 10 and 2 entertain's John Bishop, as previously reported, was the best performing comedy DVD in the special interest chart. The full combined top 10 chart in order is The Expendables, Inception (Warner), The Twilight Saga – Eclipse (eOne), Shrek Forever After, Knight And Day, Salt, Toy Story 3 (Disney), John Bishop Live, Sex And The City 2 (Warner) and The Last Airbender. For more OCC charts, see

The Christmas season is, as much as anything, about previewing 2 entertain's line-up for the coming year. For it seems as if the television schedule reads like the company's slate for 2011. So Christmas Day and Boxing Day feature the debut of the new outing from Little Britain creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas, Come Fly With Me, as well as the Doctor Who Christmas Special, while the next day sees the eagerly awaited bow of Upstairs Downstairs, the new take on the classic series that is tipped to have a Downton Abbey-style impact, as well as a seasonal episode of Benidorm. All are due from 2 entertain in the new year, with the Doctor Who Christmas special being one of the first out of the blocks on January 24. 

Christmas may be approaching, but that doesn't stop the likes of Fox from taking to the streets to push its wares. The latest stunt from the studio and its agency Premier PR saw Stewie Griffin from Family Guy taking to the streets of London on a pushbike, eagerly pursued by a group of Stormtroopers. The stunt was organised to promote the December 27 release of the latest Family Guy Star Wars spoof from Fox, It's A Trap. It earned column inches in The Sun and The Guardian's media pages (although the latter, in keeping with its current beef with the DVD business, was rather cynical about the affair, but hey, as long as they mention the release, who cares?). Pix up on the website soon… 

Avatar… The biggest grossing movie of the year, the biggest seller of the year and now it's added another less than enviable accolade to its impressive 2010 performance – as the most illegally downloaded film of the year. What makes for even grimmer reading is the fact that the total number of downloads was far greater than last year's "winner". Star Trek, the most downloaded film of 2009, was downloaded some 11 million times, while in 2010 Avatar was downloaded more than 16.5 million times via BitTorrent sites, according to Torrent Freak. The Hurt Locker's 6.85 million total of downloads came in spite of its producers' attempts to stop the Torrents. There's a distinct lack of 3D films, such as Toy Story 3 in there, while the appearance of the likes of Kick-Ass and Green Zone, deemed by many to be theatrical disappointments, suggests that illegal downloads are now affecting revenues. The full 10 is Avatar, Kick-Ass, Inception, Shutter Island, Iron Man 2, Clash Of The Titans, Green Zone, Sherlock Holmes, The Hurt Locker and Salt.  

So on to next year now, and Clear Vision is gearing itself up for a busy 2011. Having made its first foray in to the feature film sector this year with movies from the WWE Films stable, it is returning to the fray in February with arguably the most commercial outing on the slate from the fledgling studio set up by the giant wrestling organisation, Knucklehead. The film is a broad comedy starring wrestler The Big Show and fits in neatly with the WWE's new PG-friendly strategy, which sees it eschewing the bloodier elements and instead wooing the viewers. This concept is already proving to be hugely popular in winning families over and will continue into 2011. It is exemplified by one of the WWE's most marketable stars, John Cena, who appears in the January release John Cena Experience (he is set to star in one of HMV's My Inspiration ads too). As for Knucklehead, Clear Vision is currently finalising its marketing plans, but it is likely to include TV, outdoor phone box ads, print advertising and PR. Clear Vision's Ben Stanley said: "We have big plans for WWE studio releases in 2011, with our overall aim to widen our core WWE business into the movie market. WWE has for many years crossed over into movies with the likes of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, even going back to some classics (The Princess Bride with Andre The Giant, Rocky III with Hulk Hogan. Our intention is to present an exciting line-up of releases that cater for a wide range of tastes, from uplifting family movies and comedies (Legendary starring John Cena and Danny Glover, Knucklehead and The Chaperone starring Triple H), right through to coming of age drama That’s What I Am starring Ed Harris. It’s not all guns and explosions... although there will be some in there to keep the core fans happy."
Meanwhile also in 2011, Arrow Video is continuing to trawl through the more notorious vaults to pull out long lost gems from what many (us included) believe are the golden days of video. Next on the slate, after January 3's Deep Red, is Bare Behind Bars, a title that was rejected outright by the BBFC in the early 90s but will at last be seeing the light of day on DVD at the end of the month. It's the most famous example of the women in prison genre, and its name alone guarantees interest among those in the know. In keeping with the label's philosophy, it will feature sumptuous packaging and artwork and a comprehensive booklet, featuring contributions from Robin Bougie from the wonderfully named Cinema Sewer magazine. Arrow's Francesco Simeoni said: "We thought we might have trouble with Bare Behind Bars, but we’re very pleased to be able to release the film as part of our growing range of cult films and Robin Bougie made some brilliant contributions with a great booklet and the design of that eye catching cover."

Recruitment news one and eOne continues to grow as the company has this week announced the appointment of Bernadette McKeogh to the newly-created role of national account manager for catalogue and campaign. Currently a senior buyer at HMV, McKeogh has been at the retailer for eighteen months, after EUK and a lengthy stint at Virgin's retail arm. Commenting on the appointment eOne's director for home entertainment Jon Bourdillon said: "We are delighted Bernadette is joining the eOne Home Entertainment team. Her experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we establish a dedicated focus on our back catalogue and campaign activity next year."

Authorities in the USA have struck in the home of the film business, Los Angeles, with the biggest anti-piracy raid EVER in the area this week. More than $4 million worth of counterfeit goods were seized in the raid, which led to 10 arrests and saw dozens of officers and investigators from different forces joining forces under the banner of the LA Anti-Piracy Task Force.
Right, that's it for 2010, The Raygun will return in January, although we will be updating our website when we can over here. Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas and a happy and profitable new year. And thanks for everyone for supporting The Raygun from our launch onwards, both in all the kind words you've said about us, and for those that have advertised. Thank you all, keep spreading the word and and keep keeping the faith…


And so, this is Christmas, as John Lennon once stated. And what have we done? Or, as we're asking this week, what have you liked? The Raygun is pulling together a year end poll across the industry, to find out the best and worst of 2010 and the trade's hopes and features for the year ahead. Anyone can take part, all you have to do is answer the following simple questions, and drop them on an email to We'll be selecting a few highlights, and then printing them in full in the new year (so if you want to remain anonymous, please let us know). And feel free to persuade your colleagues to join in too. You can be as flippant – or as serious – as you want. Here are the questions:
Favourite three releases of the year:
Highlights of 2010:
Lowpoint of 2010:
Event of the year:
Biggest challenge in 2011:
What I'm looking forward to in 2011:

"Coleen always tends to get me some football DVDs – 'the best of and worst of' stuff – so I will watch one of those. I have just started watching Gossip Girl, so I am enjoying that at the minute. I love Family Guy as well. I go to HMV every week to see if there is a new boxset out. When you are in hotels a lot, you watch a lot of them. I have finished 24, Entourage, Dexter Damages. I am always trying to find a new one." Wayne Rooney discusses his viewing habits. In an article supposedly supporting the FIFA 11 video game release…  
The bad weather played havoc with cinemas too, with the snow and cold keeping potential cinemagoers at home as Tron: Legacy took less than £2 million in its opening weekend. The other new entries, Burlesque, Animals United and Fred: The Movie all took less than £500,000, as the weather painted a grim picture across the country. Who's to know how they would have performed otherwise? Maybe a better picture of their performance can be gleaned in the new year…

Remember that Tron guy doing the rounds on the Internet a few years ago? The one who painstakingly assembled a suit similar to those in the original film, albeit a few sizes larger to suit his not quite so svelte frame? Well, looks like the poor fella wasn't allowed to see the film at his local multiplex wearing his outfit. See the full story here,, but it's really just another excuse to gaze and marvel at THAT suit…

It's not a movie, as such, although its $65 million budget is as big as any movie, but we've been following the progress of the Spider-Man musical, subtitled Turn Off The Dark, with increasingly widening eyes. Over budget, off schedule and plagued with technical difficulties, another actor took a tumble this week, causing another cancelled show and further gossip. See the full story here, it's fascinating stuff…


This is becoming something of an annual event… It's MovieMail's end of year quiz, offering up a fantastic MovieMail voucher prize. And obviously, it's a great way to kill time waiting for work to finish…;utm_source=em642

One of the people we follow is the BFI,, it offers a good update of the organisation's activity and, every now and then, has a belter such as this, posted this week:,  

Him from The Office! Him from The Wire! Post-modern HBO references! Super awesome!

We've covered director Tom Shadyac's conversion from Ace Ventura director to striving for something more, er, meaningful, here's the trailer for his doc…

We've already had the red band for this, and here's the (slightly) cleaner version of the comedy of 2011…

Promising looking 70s-style bleak sci-fi horror fare:


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