Lionsgate Home Entertainment appears to be in total meltdown mode when it comes to moving theatrical hits from their multiplex venues to the home entertainment marketplace. The reasons are unclear, but something is definitely afoot.
Last December, Steve Beeks, the long-time guiding force behind the rise of Lionsgate from its days as the Vidmark and Trimark video labels to a major “Hollywood” studio force, announced his retirement. It is not clear if his exit is a factor in the sudden inattentive nature of the home entertainment PR and marketing group of late, but you have to look for something of that magnitude to explain the breakdown.
Indeed, it is hard to fathom the seemingly bungled home entertainment rollouts of both of the A24 Films’ Oscar contenders in the past couple of weeks. Lady Bird, a Best Picture candidate (plus Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and acting nominations for both Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf), which is produced by nine-time Best Picture nominee, Scott Rudin, got its marching orders when Amazon.com started taking orders, not when Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s PR department made any sort of effort to announce it.
And, Disaster Artist (Best Adapted Screenplay) received nothing more than the “royal wave” in its transition from theatrical venues to the home entertainment arena.
Their home entertainment availability will be Mar. 6 on Mar. 13 respectively.
Sure, there could be issues with talent, sign-offs on press releases, miscommunications … you name it, anything and everything has happened in this business more than once.
Unless Scott Rudin (and his “people”) are at the heart of the problem with Lady Bird and its home entertainment non-event launch, and producer, director and actor James Franco is guilty for having his finger in the pie on the inept Disaster Artist home entertainment push, there will be some explaining to do.
Both of these films are connected to A24 Films (maybe A24 Films is the problem), but when things start happening in “threes,” you have to wonder about the underlying reasons.
The third “shoe to drop” was the sudden arrival — without fanfare — of director Jaume Collet-Serra action thriller, The Commuter, as DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs and 4K Ultra-HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack product offerings on the release calendar for delivery on Apr. 17. It is not an A24 Film production, but rather The Commuter is a Lionsgate theatrical release!!
This Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern and Jonathan Banks mystery-on-a-train theatrical hit pulled in $36 million in domestic ticket sales … with those kind of numbers you don’t just sit back and watch retailers like Amazon.com start taking orders, you make a big deal about the home entertainment availability. That didn’t happen.
For the record, the ARR for The Commuter is 95 days.
It’s not just Lionsgate that has its share of problems, so we are not picking on them exclusively. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, for example, has been spotty in their execution for sometime now, and earlier this month their president, Man Jit Singh, was shown the door!
It’s a very competitive business, the windows are tight for moving theatrical releases from the big screen to the small screen, talent and producers can be a pain (in terms of getting things signed off), and there are “politics,” both external and internal, that play a factor in getting even simple things done … like getting a press release out in a timely fashion.
All of the studios go through it from time to time — key management retirements, firings, etc. It will get sorted out, or heads will roll (have rolled) … that much you can take to the bank.
As to bonus goodies for The Commuter, there are two featurettes — “End of the Line” and “Off the Rails.”