DEG Report: Streaming Exceeds Disc Sales in Industry First

The Digital Entertainment Group reports that, for the first time, subscription streaming has surpassed disc sales, further evidence that Hollywood may need to reconsider traditional windows for theatrical distribution. While total home entertainment spending increased 1.36 percent, “the $5.4 billion in disc sales fell well short of the $6.2 billion tabulated from SVOD providers like Netflix,” notes Variety. Subscription streaming jumped nearly 23 percent in 2016 (although figures do not include Amazon Prime), while disc sales dropped almost 10 percent. In another first, “spending on electronic-sell-through, or EST, which totaled just over $2 billion, was edged by VOD by just $67 million.” Continue reading DEG Report: Streaming Exceeds Disc Sales in Industry First

NAGRA to Roll Out Secure Platform for Content Distribution

As studios and exhibitors grapple to find a way to alter the movie release window to serve the changing audience for movies, NAGRA unveiled Early @t Home, a new platform aimed at both studios and exhibitors, at CES in Las Vegas. The platform combines NAGRA’s secure cloud solution with purpose-built hardware to enable content creators, studios, and theater chains to use “first release content” to directly connect with the consumer. The platform offers access to real-time analytics and provides a unique engagement opportunity through synchronized extras that could include complementary virtual and augmented reality experiences. The HD and UHD hardware solutions are priced to compete with other media dongles, but do not require specific app development. Continue reading NAGRA to Roll Out Secure Platform for Content Distribution

Marketers and Movie Producers Try Out New VR Experiences

When “Assassin’s Creed” opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 21, moviegoers will get a chance to experience the cinematic version of a role-playing game via virtual reality. At select AMC theaters, the moviegoer can put on an Oculus Rift VR headset and become a passive character in an action scene with star Michael Fassbender. To create this challenging VR experience, the movie’s producers teamed with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which provided graphics expertise in exchange for being associated with the popular franchise. Continue reading Marketers and Movie Producers Try Out New VR Experiences

Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Razer, which develops hardware and services for the gaming world, announced this week that it is acquiring THX from Creative Labs, with plans to run the iconic audio company (founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1983) as an independent subsidiary with a focus on overseas expansion and new device areas such as VR headsets. THX is expected to continue operating under current management, led by CEO Ty Ahmad-Taylor. Razer, run by CEO Min-Liang Tan and valued at $1.5 billion, also acquired gaming startup Ouya last year. Financial terms of the THX deal have not been disclosed. Continue reading Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Netflix, iPic to Simultaneously Offer Movies Online, in Theaters

Netflix is continuing its push into cinema by signing a deal with luxury theater-chain iPic Entertainment. The agreement would allow Netflix original films to screen theatrically the same day they are made available via the streaming service. Ten Netflix movies over the next year will screen in iPic theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, according to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who indicates the deal could be extended. The agreement also includes the option for films to screen at the chain’s 13 other locations or independent theaters. Continue reading Netflix, iPic to Simultaneously Offer Movies Online, in Theaters

Fandango Tests Selling Movie Tickets Directly via Facebook

Fandango has built a business helping moviegoers purchase tickets online and via a smartphone app. Now the ticket retailer owned by NBCUniversal is partnering with Facebook to sell tickets directly from the social network. It began this past weekend when fans were given the opportunity to buy tickets to “The Magnificent Seven,” “Kevin Hart: What Now?” and “Storks” through each film’s Facebook page. The move is part of a larger strategy to attract millennials; the company’s next step to reach a younger audience is a Snapchat interface. Continue reading Fandango Tests Selling Movie Tickets Directly via Facebook

Festival to Screen Ang Lee Film in 3D, 4K at High Frame Rate

On October 14, director Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” about young American war heroes, will have its world premiere at the 54th New York Film Festival. During the festival, the movie will screen in a 300-seat theater specially configured to show it as Lee intended: in 3D, 4K UHD at 120 frames per second. Few (if any) commercial theaters in the U.S. are technically capable of projecting the movie as it was shot and no such film has ever been screened publicly. Sony Pictures Entertainment will release the film nationally on November 11. Continue reading Festival to Screen Ang Lee Film in 3D, 4K at High Frame Rate

RadicalMedia and Uncorporeal Develop Hologram Experience

RadicalMedia has been working on a project to present “great people” as holograms in venues optimized for augmented reality. Although much of the project is under wraps, more became clear recently when RadicalMedia partnered with Uncorporeal, a volumetric capture startup developing technology to create human holograms that can be used in VR or AR content. Headed by Sebastian Marino, formerly visual effects supervisor on “Avatar,” Uncorporeal’s eight staffers are veterans of Lucasfilm, Weta Digital and Electronic Arts. Continue reading RadicalMedia and Uncorporeal Develop Hologram Experience

New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president, is now chief executive at New York-based MoviePass, a company that pitches a subscription service for moviegoers. The user gets a debit card, which starts at $30 a month, to attend as many movies as she likes, in movie theaters that cover 90 percent of the country. But movie theater owners are reluctant to fully adopt the non-traditional idea. To gain acceptance, Lowe plans to launch the company’s first major marketing campaign, expand its services and raise more money. Continue reading New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Delays in International DVD Releases Lead to Increased Piracy

Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics released a report that establishes a link between delays in international DVD releases and piracy. Delays hurt aftermarket sales, which often account for the lion’s share of a movie’s revenue, mainly because it opens the door for piracy. Although artificial delays may help movie theaters maximize their revenues, minimizing or eliminating “unneeded delays” is an important consideration, says the report. Continue reading Delays in International DVD Releases Lead to Increased Piracy

‘Deadpool’ Sets New Record: Sells One Million Digital Units

Already the top-grossing R-rated movie in history (earning $761 million worldwide), “Deadpool” has broken another record by selling one million units in Digital HD sales during its first week, the fastest of any superhero title. The film “holds the record as Fox’s best performing Digital HD title ever,” notes The Wrap. “In comparison, ‘The Martian’ hit the one million unit mark in three weeks over Christmas, which was a record back then.” Digital HD includes Comcast, Google Play, iTunes, Xbox, and other digital outlets. “Deadpool” will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand starting May 10. Continue reading ‘Deadpool’ Sets New Record: Sells One Million Digital Units

Survey: Netflix Subscribers Envision the Service Replacing TV

Netflix continues to invest heavily in its original programming as the company competes with pay TV and rival streaming services. The company has also reduced its U.S. library as licensing costs climb, while adding to its international offerings in markets such as Canada and Great Britain. To get a sense of the brand’s perception in an evolving digital landscape, AllFlicks surveyed 3,000 visitors to its own site and Reddit to learn how the company is faring as compared to pay TV and other entertainment businesses. With this select group, 75.5 percent believe Netflix could replace traditional TV. Continue reading Survey: Netflix Subscribers Envision the Service Replacing TV

NAB 2016: Sphericam and Liquid Cinema Look to Advance VR

Two companies at last week’s NAB Show, Sphericam and Liquid Cinema, are making interesting contributions to the advancement of VR Cinema. Sphericam is preparing to launch a 6-sensor, 4-microphone spherical camera the size of a baseball into the prosumer market. The camera can internally stitch at 30 fps and, with an attached PC, output 60 fps live video. Liquid Cinema has developed a comprehensive yet simple-to-use software package for editing VR footage, adding effects, and, most interestingly, re-establishing the director’s intent for where viewers should look at cut-points within the video. Continue reading NAB 2016: Sphericam and Liquid Cinema Look to Advance VR

NAB: Immersive Films Present Possibilities, Face Challenges

When Ang Lee was asked about his opinion of VR, at the conclusion of a panel at the NAB Show focused on the technical aspects of making “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” he demurred that he was still very focused on making his way through the highly experimental process of creating a movie that combines 3D stereoscopy with 4K and 120 fps. The result, as seen in an 11-minute clip, is so immersive that some viewers compared it to VR. Lee didn’t dismiss VR, and believes it might eventually encompass theatrical experiences. Continue reading NAB: Immersive Films Present Possibilities, Face Challenges

Ang Lee’s ‘Long Halftime Walk’ to 4K, 3D, 120 fps Filmmaking

Filmmaker Ang Lee gave a keynote talk at NAB 2016 with editor Tim Squyres and production system supervisor Ben Gervais about the path to creating his upcoming feature “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which was shot in 3D, 4K, at 120 frames per second. An 11-minute clip from the film ran all afternoon, drawing long lines and buzz. No theater can currently show the movie the way it was shot, but Lee says his curiosity and passion for storytelling led him to explore these formats, which create a compelling immersive experience. Continue reading Ang Lee’s ‘Long Halftime Walk’ to 4K, 3D, 120 fps Filmmaking