The exec who had been running the company’s international distribution business is expanding his oversight. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment said today it has promoted Keith Feldman to President of Worldwide Distribution. He’ll be in charge of customer engagement and activities across global physical and digital home entertainment transactional businesses for Fox and its third-party partners. He also will be responsible for the strategic alignment and growth of key global customers including Amazon, Comcast, Google Play, iTunes and Xbox, among others. Feldman also will oversee Fox’s disc, VOD and digital HD business as well as licensing and commercial negotiations with global and local digital platforms.
Consider this to be an upgrade to the Ultra High Definition programming deal that the companies announced earlier this year at International CES. At the time, Fox said that it would provide Samsung with a storage device, called the UHD Video Pack, that would include content from different studios including Fox’s Night At The Museum, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Counselor. Now the companies say that they have a “strategic partnership” designed to establish “a secure and sustainable next-generation…content ecosystem.” Fox’s visually crisp 4K content will work across the Samsung Smart Hub platform — including the curved screen TV sets that created a stir at the consumer electronics show. In addition the companies will ”explore additional collaboration opportunities in multiple areas of innovation with the goal of creating immersive next-generation consumer experiences.” Although the announcement is vague, Fox Home Entertainment President Mike Dunn says that the partnership will help them to offer UHD “to audiences around the world” as the companies become “laser-focused” on the goal of bringing the technology “to the living room for people to own and enjoy.” Samsung expects there to be 60M UHD TVs in the market in three years.
The goal is to inspire the estimated 16M people expected to receive a tablet, smartphone, smart TV or other connected device this Christmas to make the action film starring Liam Neeson the first one they buy. Fox Home Entertainment is releasing Taken 2 in its Digital HD format today, four weeks before it’s out on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD. That’s the longest lead time any studio has provided for the online version of one of its films. (Prometheus, the first video Fox released electronically ahead of the discs, held the record at three weeks; others have had a two-week lead.) Fox also will launch its first broadcast TV promotion for an electronic sell-through title. The company plans to hawk the film on Christmas Day NBA games on ABC and ESPN, in addition to Google, IGN, Gamefly, YouTube, and other web destinations. The film, priced at about $15, is being sold at digital stores including Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and Apple’s iTunes Store.
NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will supply standard definition and HD movies and TV shows to the NOOK Video download and rental service — just as Barnes & Noble prepares this week to ship its NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets and offer them in its stores. The bookstore retailer’s release skimps on details about the agreements, including how much content the studios will provide, how much titles might cost, and what other devices might be able to handle Nook Video streams and downloads. But it says that titles include Snow White And The Huntsman, Battleship, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Along with its previous deals with HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, Viacom, Warner Bros, and Disney, Barnes & Noble says it will offer “thousands of movies and TV shows for all ages and interests.” The new agreements, and tablets, also are designed to make it easy for NOOK owners to stream videos from their UltraViolet accounts.
Randy Orton is getting back in the action for 12 Rounds: Reloaded. The three time WWE World Heavyweight Champ will star in the second installment of the action franchise for WWE Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. In Reloaded, Orton plays an Emergency Medical Technician who has to find out why a vigilante is threatening him and his family. Directed by Roel Reine and written by David Benullo, 12 Rounds: Reloaded starts shooting in Vancouver on September 26. The movie is set to be released in the spring of 2013. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will handle worldwide distribution on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download, WWE will market the film through its various platforms. Reloaded is the second in WWE Studios’ three-picture deal with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The first 12 Rounds was released in 2009, starring wrestler John Cena and directed by Renny Harlin. Among other films WWE Studios also has coming out are Dead Man Down, starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and Terrence Howard, and The Hive, with Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. Dead Man Down was co-financed with IM Global and will be distributed by FilmDistrict. The Hive was co-produced by Troika Pictures. Randy Orton is repped by Andy Corren Management.
LOS ANGELES (May 15, 2012) – Three long-standing executives of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s sales team have been elevated to senior management positions it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Simon Swart. Don Jeffries has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Sales, North America, effective immediately, and will report to Swart. Additionally, Joe Barrett and Greg Hammers have been promoted to Senior Vice Presidents, National Sales, reporting to Jeffries.
The kiosk company already buys Warner Bros discs on the open market instead of accepting the studio’s insistence that it wait 56 days for new releases. And Paul Davis, CEO of Redbox parent Coinstar, says he’s “comfortable that we could deal with” a similar situation if Universal or Fox also try to change their current arrangement to hold new releases for 28 days before selling discs directly to Redbox. The kiosk company says it offsets the higher price it pays retailers for Warner Bros’ new DVD and Blu-ray releases by carrying fewer of the studio’s titles. “We’re not buying every single movie” from Warner Bros, he told analysts at the Pacific Crest Emerging Technology Summit. ”We’re pretty selective.” The company expects to “learn a lot more as we go through the quarter” about how many discs to buy to satisfy consumers and still make a profit. Although Redbox is prepared to do the same thing with Universal and Fox, Davis says “I don’t believe that’s where we’ll end up.”
EXCLUSIVE: WWE Studios and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have partnered on three films that will be DVD premiere titles. First up is The Marine: Homefront, a new installment of the franchise that started with the 2006 Fox theatrical release that starred WWE wrestler John Cena. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will handle worldwide distribution for the three pictures on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download. WWE will use its telecasts and marketing clout to promote each film.
“WWE Studios will continue to expand its film offerings to appeal to a wide range of movie fans in 2012 and 2013,” said WWE Studios President, Michael Luisi. “We look forward to building upon our relationship with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to present movies that bring action, adventure and humor to audiences all over the globe.”
“WWE is a tremendous organization supported by a world class marketing machine,” said Mike Dunn, President, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Michael and his team.”
Just because the movies seem to be working this summer and the flood of deals at Cannes indicated that the appetite has returned to the acquisitions business, that doesn’t mean studios are immune to layoffs. Fox has become the fourth studio this week to lop staff. The studio has laid off 12 in home entertainment and 10 in IT. It’s described as a minor realignment that occurred mostly in the analytics group for Fox Home Entertainment and the IT group that supports them. Earlier this week, Paramount shuttered its worldwide acquisitions group under Matt Brodlie. Disney next week will lay off about 5% largely in the distribution area and a few other spots, while Lionsgate laid off less than 20 people as part of a reorganization affecting home entertainment and service areas.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has formed Fox World Cinema, an outlet that will put prestige films from around the world out on DVD, VOD and Digital Download. It sounds like a welcome option for all those films that get great festival response but don’t quite justify the P&A spend necessary for a theatrical release. The initial slate will include The Yellow Sea, the Korean film that will screen at Cannes this month in the Un Certain Regard program; The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman, the Chinese film that premiered at 2010 Toronto Film Festival; the Indian film Dum Maaro Dum, and Vallanzasca: Angel of Evil, the Italian film that played at Venice and other festivals.
“Fox has always championed films that transcend language and social differences,” said Sanford Panitch, president of Fox International Productions. “In recent years, American audiences have embraces successful foreign films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The universal themes represented with Fox World Cinema will be appreciated by film lovers everywhere.” The new label will work in tandem with Fox International Productions.