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It Was A Good Week For… The Greatest Showman, one of the biggest of the year, shifting 329,000 in its first few days…
It Was A Bad Week For… 1 million consumers who stopped buying DVDs in the first quarter of 2018…
In a week where good news was tempered with some grimmer reading, it’s time, retail organisation ERA said this week, to celebrate the superfan. For figures released by the rertailers’ trade body, alongside some new Kantar research which highlighted another fall in physical sales, ERA issued its own figures which showed that the superfan, a consumer spending £400 or more a year on one format within the entertainment sector (Blu-ray, DVD, vinyl, CDs or games), was helping drive whatever growth the market was enjoying. What’s more, the superfan is singlehandedly boosting Blu-ray sales and slowing any decline on the format, with what ERA said 61 per cent of sales on the high definition format coming from those spending £400 or more a year. Those 247,000 superfans buying product on BD equate to total sales of almost £100 million out of the £161 million a year Blu-ray market (2017 figures). ERA tracking research suggests that DVD is the least likely to draw superfans compared with other sectors including BD, vinyl, CD and games, with just 11 per cent of sales coming from the die hard enthusiast. But that 11 per cent still equates to sales of almost £63 million a year. ERA compiled the figures from its own quarterly tracking data, and chief executive Kim Bailey said: “Superfans are the connoisseurs of entertainment. They are passionate about music or film or games and tend to favour the more sophisticated higher-value formats.”
As ever, the ERA story picked up plenty of interest, thanks additionally to the fact that the story covered vinyl extensively, giving the press more time to pen articles mentioning the ongoing vinyl revival. Here’s an example from the BBC, which incidentally, features one of The Raygun’s very own pals from east London record emporium Love Vinyl in a picture illustrating its article…

Long live the superfan, then, but also, according to figures just released by Kantar Worldpanel, long live the planned purchaser too. For in a series of statistics that may have provided far from ecstatic reading, planned purchases in video shone like a beacon in the figures for the first part of the year. Planned purchases, for biggies such as Paddington 2, the latest Thor and the Kingsman sequel, actually rose by 1 per cent in the first part of the year. Video, like the overall entertainment category, is seeing more and more shoppers migrating online, either to buy or rent digitally or buy physical product online. Online sales now make up more than four out of 10 physical video, games and music purchases, with that 42 per cent representing a record share for net-based sales. And in the first 12 weeks of the year, almost 1 million fewer consumers bought physical video, preferring instead digital downloads and rentals. Some 12.5 per cent of those bought a tvod title, while 40 per cent of consumers have access to a streaming service. 4K Ultra HD sales now make up 3.3 per cent of video disc sales, with 123,000 shoppers now buying the ultra high definition format. 
More Kantar figures showing some of the key trends in the first 12 weeks of 2018 came from Kantar Worldpanel consumer specialist James Foti who said: “Overall, physical entertainment declined by 13.5 per cent over the past quarter but online sales were a real bright spot. The average shopper spent almost £19 when shopping online over the past 12 weeks – that’s in comparison to around £15 in store – and the lure of e-commerce has now persuaded 27 per cent of consumers to buy their physical entertainment goods exclusively online. A further 37 per cent still split their spend across online and offline, suggesting the high street still plays an important place for shoppers and that those retailers which parents looked to the entertainment market to help occupy their kids – the majority of this spend went towards five to 14 year olds and was boosted by Amazon’s major Easter sale. With a number of big-name titles out in the autumn we’d expect to see another boost in gifting later this year but until then, retailers should look to capitalise on the forthcoming school holidays by promoting games that will keep children entertained.”

Last week it was record EST figures for The Greatest Showman, the blockbuster hit that has blitzed the competition in recent months and turned into the biggest surprise hit of the year, and this week it’s followed its earth-shattering box office haul and big digital numbers with an impressive physical home entertainment bow. The Hugh Jackman starrer is the second fastest selling release of the year, bested only by the franchise supported Star Wars: The Last Jedi, amassing sales of 329,000 in its first three days on sale across DVD and Blu-ray SKUs. What’s more, according to the Official Charts Company’s midweek bulletin, it was outselling the rest of the top 100 combined up until the end of Wednesday, another big accomplishment for the musical. The only question now is whether the film can top The Last Jedi’s 582,000 in its first full week. Given the film’s trajectory thus far – its box office revenue didn’t follow normal patterns and it continued to build over the first few weeks and months of release – it’ll be interesting to see how long this goes on for…
Fox has earned praise from retailers for the way it has managed the supply chain for The Greatest Showman, particularly as the film’s ever-growing reputation meant forecasts were revised throughout its sell-in period. As HMV’s Andy Anderson said: “It’s done exceedingly well, we’re very happy with the overall performance in the market. It’s a title that’s a surprise – if you go back six months ago you knew there was a Star Wars, you knew there was an Avengers, but this is a real bonus. And well done to Fox for having the stock, there’s not been a problem. Fox has had a real belief in the film, there’s going to do a half a million week one and that’s four times the initial forecast. It’s been a really good effort all round, from the supermarkets, us, Amazon, Fox, Technicolor, everybody.”
And the hits keep on coming for Fox – the studio this week saw its big comic book sequel Deadpool 2 open at cinemas, and also showed it off to the trade at a special screening. The film went down a storm with those attending, not surprising seeing as it’s honed its blend of wry, self-mocking humour and action perfection. Pre-orders for the film kicked off this week, including a rather smart looking exclusive 4K Steelbook SKU at HMV. Commenting on the pre-orders, HMV’s Andy Anderson said: “It’s a measure of how big the franchise is that pre-orders started so well before people had even seen the film.” 
More from the midweeks, as noted The Greatest Showman is atop the charts, other new entries include Batman Ninja, at number three, and All The Money In The World at number five. Molly’s Game is at number six at the halfway stage and the latest in statement in the Tremors franchise, A Cold Day In Hell at number eight. That means half the top 10 at the halfway point were new entries. Beyond that, Tribal Warfare is at number 18, Dragon Mountain at 24 and the third season of The Durrells is at number 30.

To the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square where 101 Films was launching the first two titles on its boutique Black Label with the help of, among others, legendary Brit director Stephen Frears. His classic early 90s gritty film noir The Grifters is one of the imprint’s first releases (alongside David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ) and 101 showed off a 35mm print of the film, followed by a Q&A with Frears alongside crew members and long-time associates Oliver Stapleton and Mick Audsley. Frears was on fine form for what was one of the best post-film sessions of its kind we’ve seen for some time. “I’m still in shock,” he said after sitting and watching the whole film again on the big screen. “It’s straight in the analyst’s chair for me.” He did, however, thank the audience and remark on its longevity. He concluded: “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to say thank you very much. You make a film and then 25 years later everyone comes along to see it. I can’t quite believe it.”
The launch gives us the time to appraise the new Black Label, with The Grifters and eXistenZ highlighting the aims and ideals of the label and proving to be the perfect way to kick off proceedings for 101 Films’ new imprint. Slipcase packaging, new design elements, numbered editions, dual format releases, booklets with essays and features, restored films, new extras, including features and commentaries, chief among them. It’s mining libraries and catalogues for films that haven’t got the Blu-ray treatment they deserve – and viewing The Grifters again (for the first time since its old Palace Video release) – are underrated gems. 101 Films’ Tim Scaping said: “We’re delighted with the way the first two Black Label titles have turned out, and the reaction to these releases and the new label generally has been hugely positive. The Grifters screening event at the Prince Charles Cinema was a great way to launch the label, and we can’t wait to announce the next batch of titles in the range.”
This week marked the 75th anniversary of the Dam Busters raid during the Second World War, a pivotal moment during the conflict. And the commemorations proved to be the perfect launchpad for Studiocanal’s new restored 4K version of the classic war film relating the tale, called. of course, The Dam Busters. The film aired at a special screening and event at the Royal Albert Hall, both the on-stage activities (including recreating a bouncing bomb!) and film were beamed to some 400 cinemas around the country, with the box office receipts of  some £550,000 – a figure significantly higher than other recent commemorative Royal Albert Hall events. There are also more screenings to come ahead of the June 4 release. Commenting on the event, Studiocanal’s John Rodden said: “We’re so proud to have worked on such a prestigious and special event with our partners Snappin’ Turtle, Dan Snow and History Hit TV, and the RAF Benevolent Fund. The new 4k restoration of The Dam Busters produced by Dragon Digital looked spectacular on the immense Royal Albert Hall screen. The evening was a wonderful tribute to the heroes of the raid, their families, and the filmmakers who told their story. And we could not be happier with the outstanding box office results. The film has really connected with audiences across the whole country, underlining its enduring appeal across generations.”
Also due from Studiocanal, arriving on Monday May 21, is The Commuter, another fine action outing from Liam Neeson. And, as Studiocanal’s Jess Briggs noted, he’s racked up some impressive stats since crossing over to become a fully-fledged action hero: “He’s saved 158 people, survived 17 explosions, taken 23 modes of transport and made 24 terrifying threats in his dynamic action career. You guessed it – Liam Neeson is back to his absolute best in the ‘bare-knuckle thrill ride’ The Commuter, releasing on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on Monday. We’ll be supporting the release with a heavyweight TV and diverse online campaign. We also have an original Publicity activation with Southeastern railway where staff have nominated their most outrageous commuting moments, along with a series of exclusive video placements online. The campaign is further bolstered by a strong social presence, including original content with The Hook, to further target our 25-44-year-old core audience and carry the release through to Father’s Day.”     

Dateline: Cannes. And after all the talk of Netflix, streaming, selfies and press screenings, the industry finally got down to some serious film watching and deal making this week. One of the year’s most talked about films, and one that picked up the DIrector's Fortnight prize at this year’s festival, is Climax, the latest from acclaimed – and often controversial – director Gaspar Noe. And in something of a coup for the independent, Arrow has picked up the UK rights to the film, which earned four and five star reviews (“visually extraordinary, structurally and formally audacious…Noé is giving us a cinema of sensual outrageousness and excess that makes other films look middle-aged and tame,” gushed The Guardian). Arrow’s acquisitions director Tom Stewart said: "The Arrow team is ecstatic to be to bringing such a remarkable, powerhouse of a film to our audiences in the UK and Ireland, and to once again be working with the fantastic team at Wild Bunch, who year after year deliver such an exciting slate of films here in Cannes.” The deal was inked with Wild Bunch, whose Olivier Barbier added: ‘I’m thrilled that Arrow Films is going to be bringing Climax to UK audiences. Arrow’s knowledge of the market and  passion for Gaspar Noe’s work make them the perfect fit for this revolutionary film. This new deal with Arrow represents a continuation of our fruitful collaboration that started many years ago.”
Also at Cannes (and there’s more to come for sure), Mubi has picked up the latest film from legendary helmer Jean-Luc Godard, already a hit at the festival. The Image Book looks at the part played by cinema in world history and Mubi’s exclusive deal will see the film being released theatrical in the UK before playing on its curated streaming service. What’s more, it marks the first theatrical bow for one of the French auteur’s  films for almost a decade. Commenting on the deal, Mubi’s svp for content Bobby Allen said: “We are thrilled that MUBI will be releasing Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book. Godard is a true visionary who continues to change the face of cinema and we are extremely proud to be able to present this new chapter of his work to UK audiences.” 
Just as the wedding planners, police, assorted hangers-on and crowds in Windsor are done with the big Royal wedding day on Saturday May 19, the BBC will be putting its meticulously planned operation to get the DVD record of the event on to shelves little more than a week later. It’s pulling out all the stops to get from the outside broadcast unit stationed at Windsor Castle, through to stores, in what will be a record time, arriving for Monday May 28. BBC Studios head of operations Lesley Johnson said: “We’re gearing up for it. We know the event is taking place on Saturday, and from then it’s a special operation to get the programme made and turned around. The time is faster than for William and Kate’s wedding and the fastest we’ve ever done. It’s a military operation.” She outlined the running order, with the head of production working with the outside broadcast team in Windsor on the day. This means editing the highlights of the run-up to the ceremony while the wedding itself takes place (the ceremony will be shown in full on the release) and then sorting the highlights of the couple leaving the church on the fly, ready for 8pm, for overnight authoring at Pixelogic, with a DVD master ready for Monday morning. This needs approval from Kensington Palace and the Royals (the sleeve and on-body are pre-approved, waiting for an official finishing photograph to be dropped in after getting the od), before being sent electronically to Sony in Austria for the final stages of the mastering process and replication at the start of the week, ready for delivery on Wednesday. Trucks will be sent to retailers’ own distribution centres. Johnson said: “We have contingency plans in place in case anything goes wrong. Although it’s a military precision operation, it’s helped because the wedding is a linear event, it flows well. We’re expected to do this, at moments of great important, we’re proud to be able to put together this souvenir of the day.”
And all it’s left for us to do is remind you that the BASE Awards are looming large, with just a few weeks to go until the big event – it’s on June 7 at its recent home of Tobacco Dock over in Wapping. And here’s BASE chief executive Liz Bales with a reminder to make sure you get your tickets for the event before they go. She said: “As we get even closer to raising the curtain on the 2018 BASE Awards, the team is hard at work putting together the finishing touches to what is going to be a truly magical evening at the Tobacco Dock. We look forward to welcoming many of you on the June 7 as we come together in the spirit of celebration for the exhilarating work, innovation and achievements from across the category over the past 12 months. With only the final few tickets remaining, now is your last chance to secure your tables or tickets before it’s too late!” Ticket Booking Forms are available here or by emailing Vicki Geddes on

"You're giving up theatrical and every ancillary revenue for a just slightly better upfront fee.”A sales agent discussing how some filmmakers and producers would rather sell to more traditional distributors than Netflix, after a clutch of Cannes biggies went this route rather than take the svod shilling. For the full piece see here
Avengers: Infinity War is now the biggest superhero film of all time at UK cinemas having overtaken The Dark Knight Rises, with its total box office haul now well past the £60 million mark. Other new entries in the top included Sherlock Gnomes with £2.5 million, Life Of The Party, with £618,311, Breaking in, with £424,765, and Raazi (£150,360). 
And to the next Batman offshoot. No, it’s not the Dark Knight himself, nor his sidekick Dick Grayson in any of his incarnations, nor is it any one of the welter of supervillains or cops or good guys that will feature. For this new 10-part series will focus on loyal butler Alfred. The series, entitled Pennyworth after the manservant’s surname, spins off from another TV series, Gotham. It looks at that show’s Alfred’s life prior to working with the Wayne family. Sean Pertwee’s character has revealed a shadowy past working for the SAS and getting in all kinds of scrapes, although, given its set some time in the past, Pertwee himself is unlikely to appear…
Steven Spielberg is set to team up again with Leonardo diCaprio for the first time in over a decade, since Catch Me If You Can in fact. The latter star was already working on the project, a biopic based on the life of Ulysses S Grant, and now it appears as if the director is in the frame to direct…
Follow us on…
God loves a Von Trier (this comes with a warning, not for the faint-hearted…
More Red Band business, with a great tagline too…
And even more Red Band…
“I’m telling you, the war’s a-coming…”
Something about not seeing the first 21…
This looks ace, due from the BFI later this year…
More impossibilities…
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