Open Road, which made two of the biggest deals at Berlin acquiring domestic on Rock The Kasbah and the John Hillcoat-directed Triple Nine, has extended its deal for ancillaries with Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Here’s the release.
Open Road Films and Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) have renewed their agreement in which Universal handles all marketing, sales and distribution services for Blu-ray, DVD, Electronic Sell-Through and VOD platforms of Open Road Films’ theatrical titles through 2017. The announcement was made today jointly by Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films, and Craig Kornblau, President of USHE.
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No layoffs associated with today’s restructuring, which the company says will “streamline operations and best leverage future growth opportunities.” Under the new arrangement, Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) President Craig Kornblau — who had managed distribution of physical media including DVDs — will also oversee digital home entertainment sales for Universal Pictures and Focus Features theatrical releases, NBCUniversal TV shows, and direct-to-video content and acquisitions. He’ll report to Universal Chief Distribution Officer Peter Levinsohn. Michael Bonner — who had been EVP for NBCUniversal Digital Distribution — will still run domestic digital film and TV distribution as EVP for USHE, reporting to Levinsohn and Kornblau. And Jessica Schell will continue as EVP of New Media and Digital Entertainment for Universal Pictures where she’ll report to Levinsohn and explore business opportunities which the company says will include “new content, windows and formats such as UltraViolet.” Levinsohn says the changes will improve the company’s ability to “take advantage of growth opportunities in every home entertainment window, which is critical to further expanding our business.”
Los Angeles, CA, May 14, 2013 Cinedigm, the global leader in digital content distribution, and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, the premier home entertainment company, have entered into a multi-year agreement whereby Universal will provide comprehensive supply-chain services across North America for Cinedigm’s growing DVD and Blu-ray library of independent films, documentaries, TV programs and other content, the two companies announced today. Cinedigm’s existing sales force will continue selling directly to customers. The arrangement encompasses Cinedigm’s library of over 5,000 titles which includes award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films, next-gen indies from Flatiron Film Company and acclaimed independent films and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Film. Cinedigm also distributes many award-winning and Oscar-nominated films including “THE INVISIBLE WAR,” “HELL AND BACK AGAIN,” “GASLAND,” “WASTE LAND,” and “PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY.” Bob Fiorella, Chief Strategy Officer of Cinedigm, negotiated the agreement on Cinedigm’s behalf.
Related: Cinedigm Will Outfit Drive-Ins With Digital Projectors
Looks like Warner Bros lost an important potential ally in its effort to double the waiting period for Redbox to secure DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Redbox said this morning that they’ve agreed to continue their current sales arrangement — which requires Redbox to wait 28 days after Universal’s new releases go on sale elsewhere — through August 2014. As part of the agreement, Redbox’s parent, Coinstar, has guaranteed up to $10M of its revenue sharing commitment to Universal, the company said in an SEC filing. The new agreement “represents a win for consumers, Universal and Redbox,” the kiosk company’s SVP Galen Smith says. It takes some pressure off of his company: It has begun to buy Warner Bros discs from retailers, instead of directly from the studio, after the entertainment company insisted that Redbox wait 56 days to secure new releases. Redbox said it was prepared to go through the same costly and complicated process for Universal’s videos if it made the same demand. But the workaround would have become “far more difficult to manage” for multiple studios, Wedbush Securites analyst Michael Pachter said yesterday in a report. With this morning’s announcement, Coinstar’s stock price is up about 2.5% in pre-market trading. The new deal with Universal “is significantly positive news and removes a cloud over the shares,” B. Riley & Co analyst Eric Wold says. Redbox’s contract with Fox, which also includes a 28-day delay, expires … Read More »
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.” Read More »
Universal Studios Home Entertainment today filed suit against its former chief operating officer Thomas Emrey, alleging that he breached his contract and fiduciary duties when he took a job as CFO at DineEquity last month. The Glendale-based firm, which operates restaurant chains including IHOP and Applebee’s, was also named in the suit for aiding and abetting the alleged breach. Universal claims that Emrey was under contract through May of 2012 but announced on September 2 that he had a new job and stopped coming to work. Universal claims in the suit that Emrey knew he was leaving for months before he left, and knowingly exited the unit just as it was prepping for two major DVD releases, Bridesmaids this month and Fast Five in October. The suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as legal fees.
Open Road Films, the recently launched theatrical distribution company from exhibitors AMC and Regal, has signed a multiyear agreement with Universal Studios Home Entertainment to handle all marketing, sales and distribution services for Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms of Open Road’s titles. The first film to be covered in the deal is also Open Road’s first film: Killer Elite, the actioner starring Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Clive Owen that will be released Sept. 23. The announcement of the home entertainment deal was made today by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg and USHE president Craig Kornblau.