Theater Group Slams Disney’s ‘Black Widow’ PVOD Release Strategy Following Box Office Drop

NEWS ANALYSIS — Following the 80% drop at the domestic weekend box office for Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, which saw Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy, featuring NBA superstar LeBron James, finish No. 1 in ticket sales, one interested party is blaming Disney+ and PVOD.

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has long been a champion of the theatrical window — the 90-day exclusive period enriching exhibitors and studios while laying the groundwork for secondary distribution channels such as packaged media retail, digital and pay-TV.

Disney, via Marvel superhero movies, dominated the last pre-pandemic theatrical year in 2019 with more than $11.1 billion in global box office revenue. But the times have changed, and with vaccinations becoming politicized and moviegoers now presented with earlier in-home movie access via HBO Max (Warner) and premium VOD (Disney, Universal, Lionsgate) and Paramount+ and Peacock (NBCUniversal), NATO is fuming at the fiscal repercussions.

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Indeed, Warner is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate — including Space Jam: A New Legacy — concurrently for free to subscribers on Max. Disney has made select movies (i.e. Black Widow) available for $29.99 purchase on Disney+.

Citing Black Widow’s excellent reviews, positive word of mouth, and strong previews and opening day total ($13.2 million/$39.5 million), the trade group was surprised by the movie’s 41% second-day drop in ticket sales, a weaker-than-expected opening weekend, and a stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues.

“Why did such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie underperform?,” the group asked in a July 18 statement.

NATO contends that despite assertions that the pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous home entertainment release model, the legacy exclusive theatrical release window translates into more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life.

Based on comparable Marvel titles, and other successful pandemic-era titles like F9: The Fast Saga and A Quiet Place Part II opening day to weekend ratios, NATO says Black Widow should have opened to anywhere from $92 million to $100 million. Based on preview revenue, compared with the same titles, Black Widow could have opened to anywhere from $97 million to $130 million.

Widow opened with a $80 million domestic box office weekend.

NATO contends early analysis pointed at the $60 million in Disney’s Premier Access (PVOD) revenue and compared it to the domestic theatrical of $80 million and suggested a success, especially since Disney keeps every dollar of home release.

“It does not,” writes NATO. “Approximately 15% of revenue goes to the various platforms through which consumers access Disney+. It ignores that Premier Access revenue is not newfound money, but was pulled forward from a more-traditional PVOD window, which is no longer an option.”

The trade group pointed out the average number of people per household in the U.S. is 2.37 — a number considered to be higher among family-oriented Disney+ households.

“How much password sharing is there among Disney+ subscribers?,” asked NATO. “Combined with the lost theatrical revenue and forgone traditional PVOD revenue, the answer to these questions will show that simultaneous release costs Disney money in revenue per viewer over the life of the film.”

Piracy no doubt further affected Black Widow’s performance, and will affect its future performance in international markets where it has yet to open.
Pristine digital copies became available within minutes of release on Disney+. Black Widow was the most pirated movie for the week endedJuly 12. It was also available on myriad illegal streaming sites all over the Internet.

NATO said similar digital piracy/password sharing occurred for all simultaneous releases, including Wonder Woman 1984, Godzilla vs. Kong, Cruella and Mortal Kombat).

“This did not happen for F9 or A Quiet Place 2,” wrote NATO. “How much money did everyone lose to simultaneous release piracy?”

The trade group suggests that the many questions raised by Disney’s limited release of streaming data opening weekend are being “rapidly answered” by Black Widow’s “disappointing and anomalous” performance.

“The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself,” wrote NATO.

‘In the Heights’ Dancing to Premium Digital July 30, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 31

The musical In the Heights will be available for  premium digital sale ($24.99) and rental ($19.99, 48 hours) July 30, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and standard digital Aug. 31 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film is directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (Broadway’s Hamilton) music and lyrics. It stars Anthony Ramos (A Star Is Born, Broadway’s Hamilton) and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, BlacKkKlansman). The film also stars singer/songwriter Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera (TV’s “Vida”), Olga Merediz (Broadway’s In the Heights), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Broadway’s Rent), Gregory Diaz IV (Broadway’s Matilda the Musical), Stephanie Beatriz (TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Dascha Polanco (TV’s “Orange Is the New Black”) and Jimmy Smits (the “Star Wars” films).

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In the film set in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies a vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.

Special features on the 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray include several featurettes and sing-alongs. The DVD includes one featurette.

‘Wrath of Man,’ ‘Cruella’ Again Top Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

For a second consecutive week, Wrath of Man topped the Vudu chart and Cruella led the FandangoNow chart for the week ended July 11.

Both Vudu and FandangoNow are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

Warner Bros.’ Wrath of Man, newly available for digital purchase, also came in at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart. Based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck, the actioner pairs director Guy Ritchie with Jason Statham. Statham plays a mysterious new security guard for a cash truck who surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from.

Disney’s Cruella, which became available for premium digital purchase June 25, was also No. 3 on the Vudu chart. The prequel tells the story of the rise of the 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil.

Universal Pictures’ Nobody jumped to No. 2 on the Vudu chart and remained at No. 5 on the FandangoNow chart. The film stars Bob Odenkirk as a family man repressing a dangerous past that resurfaces after he interrupts burglars robbing his home. When he learns his daughter’s kitty bracelet is missing, he snaps and sets off on a mission of revenge looking to vent his deep-seated rage.

Warner’s Angelina Jolie film Those Who Wish Me Dead, newly available for premium rental and sale July 2, came in at No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 6 on Vudu). Jolie stars as Hannah, a smoke jumper reeling from the loss of three young lives she failed to save from a fire. When she comes across a bloodied and traumatized 12-year-old boy, the two set out together to cross miles of thick forest. Braving deadly lightning storms that challenge even Hannah’s well-honed survival skills, they’re unaware of the true dangers they face as they’re hunted by two killers while a massive fiery blaze heads straight for them.

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed, available for premium digital rental, came in at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 9 on Vudu). The next chapter in the “Spirit” franchise begins as a young girl finds a connection to her mother’s legacy as a trick rider and forms a bond with a wild Mustang named Spirit.

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Warner’s Godzilla vs. Kong, available for digital sale and rental, remained at No. 4 on the Vudu chart (No. 6 on FandangoNow). The film, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown. In this installment in the Monsterverse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

No. 5 on the Vudu chart (No. 8 on FandangoNow) was Screen Media’s horror thriller Till Death, starring Megan Fox. Fox plays Emma, who is stuck in a stale marriage to Mark and is surprised when he whisks her away to their secluded lake house for a romantic evening on their 10th anniversary. But everything is not as it seems.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 11, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Nobody
  3. Cruella
  4. Godzilla vs. Kong
  5. Till Death
  6. Those Who Wish Me Dead
  7. Werewolves Within
  8. Demon Slayer
  9. Spirit Untamed
  10. The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 11, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Cruella
  2. Those Who Wish Me Dead
  3. Spirit Untamed
  4. Wrath of Man
  5. Nobody
  6. Godzilla vs. Kong
  7. The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2
  8. Till Death
  9. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  10. Demon Slayer

‘Wrath of Man,’ ‘Cruella’ Top Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

Wrath of Man returned to the top spot of the Vudu chart and Cruella led the FandangoNow chart for the week ended July 4.

Both Vudu and FandangoNow are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

Warner’s Wrath of Man, newly available for digital purchase, leapt to the top spot from No. 4 on the Vudu chart the previous week. The title came in at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart. Based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck, the actioner pairs director Guy Ritchie with Jason Statham. Statham plays a mysterious new security guard for a cash truck who surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from.

Disney’s Cruella, which became available for premium digital purchase June 25, was also No. 2 on the Vudu chart. The prequel tells the story of the rise of the 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil.

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed, available for premium digital rental, came in at No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 5 on Vudu). The next chapter in the “Spirit” franchise begins as a young girl finds a connection to her mother’s legacy as a trick rider and forms a bond with a wild Mustang named Spirit.

Warner’s Godzilla vs. Kong, came in at No. 3 on the Vudu chart and No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart. The film from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown. In this installment in the Monsterverse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

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Universal Pictures’ Nobody was No. 4 on the Vudu chart and No. 5 on the FandangoNow chart. The film stars Bob Odenkirk as a family man repressing a dangerous past that resurfaces after he interrupts burglars robbing his home. When he learns his daughter’s kitty bracelet is missing, he snaps and sets off on a mission of revenge looking to vent his deep-seated rage.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 4, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Cruella
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong
  4. Nobody
  5. Spirit Untamed
  6. Demon Slayer
  7. Those Who Wish Me Dead
  8. Mortal Kombat
  9. Tom & Jerry
  10. Till Death

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 4, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Cruella
  2. Spirit Untamed
  3. Wrath of Man
  4. Godzilla vs. Kong
  5. Nobody
  6. Those Who Wish Me Dead
  7. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  8. Lansky
  9. Demon Slayer
  10. Till Death

‘Godzilla vs. Kong,’ ‘Wrath of Man’ Top Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

Godzilla vs. Kong returned to the top of the Vudu chart for the week ended June 20, while the Jason Statham actioner Wrath of Man hung on to the top spot on the FandangoNow chart for a fourth consecutive week.

Both Vudu and FandangoNow are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

Newly available for regular digital purchase after a stint as a premium digital buy, Godzilla vs. Kong, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown. In this installment in the Monsterverse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The film took the No. 2 spot on the FandangoNow chart.

Warner Bros.’ Wrath of Man, based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck and available as a premium VOD rental, pairs Statham with director Guy Ritchie. In the film, a mysterious new security guard for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist, and the crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from. The marksman’s ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score. It took the No. 3 spot on the Vudu chart.

Taking the silver on the Vudu chart (No. 4 on FandangoNow) was Universal Pictures’ Bob Odenkirk action thriller Nobody, available for digital purchase and rental. In the film, Odenkirk plays a mild-mannered father and husband who hits a boiling point when he’s robbed.

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Coming in at No. 3 on the on FandangoNow chart (No. 5 on the Vudu chart) was Lionsgate’s horror sequel Spiral: From the Book of Saw, available as a premium digital rental. Spiral centers on Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock), who is working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran played by Samuel L. Jackson. Along with his rookie partner (Max Minghella), Banks takes charge of an investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past.

Thanks to the theatrical bow of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the original 2017 action-comedy has re-emerged on Vudu’s top 10 list at No. 8. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is now on sale on both transactional streaming services.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 20, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Godzilla vs. Kong
  2. Nobody
  3. Wrath of Man
  4. Mortal Kombat
  5. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  6. The Misfits
  7. Raya and the Last Dragon
  8. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
  9. Rogue Hostage
  10. Voyagers

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 20, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Godzilla vs. Kong
  3. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  4. Nobody
  5. The Misfits
  6. Mortal Kombat
  7. Queen Bees
  8. Dream Horse
  9. Raya and the Last Dragon
  10. Rogue Hostage

Thriller ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ Available for Premium Digital Ownership and Rental July 2, on Disc Aug. 3

The Angelina Jolie thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead arrives for early premium digital ownership and rental July 2 and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film is directed by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan and stars Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Maleficent) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class).

Jolie stars as Hannah, a smoke jumper reeling from the loss of three young lives she failed to save from a fire. When she comes across a bloodied and traumatized 12-year-old boy, the two set out together to cross miles of thick forest. Braving deadly lightning storms that challenge even Hannah’s well-honed survival skills, they’re unaware of the true dangers they face as they’re hunted by two killers while a massive fiery blaze heads straight for them.

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The Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette and the DVD “Those Who Wish Me Dead First Look.”

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell: PVOD Not Very Cannibalistic to Theatrical, Home Entertainment Markets

With movie theaters in California set to open to full capacity June 15, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell is upbeat about the exhibition business as it enters the important summer period. And with good reason. Universal Pictures is set to release on June 25 in the U.S. tentpole title F9: The Fast Saga.

The ninth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, with a $200 million production budget, has already generated $269 million in foreign revenue since launching on May 19 — including almost $204 million in China.

“It’s a big day tomorrow,” Shell said June 14 on the virtual Credit Suisse 23rd Annual Communications Conference. “[F9] is really the first big blockbuster post-pandemic, and we already have close to $300 million of box office revenue in the door. The movie is very satisfying if you’re a ‘Fast and Furious’ fan, which I am and was before I came here. And there’s a lot of life [left] in that franchise.”

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With the domestic F9 box office likely to top $50 million at the box office, Universal, per its new agreement with exhibitors, would open the theatrical window to at least 31 days. Universal could offer the movie into homes after just 17 days in theaters for a $19.99 digital rental (PVOD) if the box office falls below $50 million.

Shell said PVOD has been a success during the pandemic, with early signs that the distribution channel is not siphoning away packaged media and transactional VOD sales as initially feared. He said the studio was worried PVOD would cannibalize theatrical revenue, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and electronic sellthrough.

Those concerns extended to the sequel to 2017’s The Boss Baby, which generated $30.2 million in combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales. Universal is slated to debut the animated sequel, The Boss Baby: Family Business, on the Peacock streaming service and in theaters on July 2.

“The early data is that PVOD is not very cannibalistic to either channel,” Shell said. “We’re hitting a new market for the vast majority of people who [use] PVOD, and PVOD is very profitable to a movie studio.”

Indeed, the executive admits the margins surrounding PVOD are higher than in any other distribution channel. Shell said he doesn’t know what the future holds for early home entertainment access, but the detente reached with exhibitors on the issue is working.

“And right now, it appears to be, in many ways, an additive revenue stream for us and for others,” he said.

Shell said the studio decided to be opportunistic and not just experiment releasing Boss Baby 2 concurrently on Peacock, but expedite the movie’s chance to be “really successful” financially.

“I think there’s not a lot of movies like this coming in this [concurrent] corridor,” Shell said. “It [is] very much movie by movie situation. And you’re going to see a lot of that … people trying different things. And as we recover, depending on if the movie is more domestic or international, will drive a lot of those kind of changes market by market.”

Meanwhile, with the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics set to begin on July 23, Shell said NBCUniversal has become more comfortable that the Games will actually occur — despite ongoing COVID-19 concerns in Japan — adding that depending on ratings, the quadrennial spectacle could be the most profitable Olympics in the history of the company.

“If you want reach, there is nothing better than the Olympics,” he said. “You have 17 days where you dominate every night. You have … this exciting [competition] coming together after a world-changing event to celebrate athletes, success, stories and drama.”

The CEO said that what generally drives Olympics ratings is the strength of the U.S. team in marquee events such as gymnastics, swimming and track & field.

“We’re really pretty optimistic about this,” Shell said. “Simone Biles is just amazing and she’s going to be, for the first week of the Olympics, on every night. And then our swimming team is really strong and our track and field team is really strong.”

In addition to prime time TV coverage of the Games, NBC Sports will stream hundreds of hours from Tokyo on the Peacock hybrid AVOD/SVOD platform.

‘Wrath of Man’ Continues Atop Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

The Jason Statham actioner Wrath of Man led both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts for a second consecutive week.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

Warner Bros.’ Wrath of Man, based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck and available as a premium VOD rental, took the top spot for the week ended June 6. In the film, which pairs director Guy Richie with Statham, a mysterious new security guard for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from. The marksman’s ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score.

Debuting in the No. 2 spot on both charts was Lionsgate’s horror sequel Spiral: From the Book of Saw, available as a premium digital rental. Spiral centers on Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock), who is working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran played by Samuel L. Jackson.  Along with his rookie partner (Max Minghella), Banks takes charge of an investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past.

Godzilla vs. Kong, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 on both charts. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown and debuted for digital purchase May 21. In this installment in the MonsterVerse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

Falling from No. 3 to No. 4 on both charts was the Sony Pictures horror film The Unholy, which became available for digital purchase May 25. Based on James Herbert’s best-selling book Shrine, the film follows a young hearing-impaired girl who is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak and heal the sick. As people from near and far flock to witness her miracles, a disgraced journalist (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hoping to revive his career visits a small New England town to investigate. As terrifying events begin to happen all around him, he starts questioning if these miracles are the works of the Virgin Mary or something much more sinister.

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Taking the fifth spot on the Vudu chart (No. 6 on the FandangoNow chart) was the Liam Neeson actioner The Marksman, available for digital rental and purchase. The Universal Pictures film follows a hardened border town rancher (Neeson) who helps a young boy escape to safety across America with vicious drug cartel assassins on their heels.

The fifth spot on the FandangoNow chart went to the Bob Odenkirk action thriller Nobody, available as a premium digital rental. Odenkirk plays a mild-mannered father and husband who hits a boiling point when he’s robbed.

Boosted by a successful sequel in theaters, the horror thriller A Quiet Place, available for digital purchase and rental, appeared on the Vudu chart at No. 8.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 6, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong
  4. The Unholy
  5. The Marksman
  6. Tom & Jerry
  7. Raya and the Last Dragon
  8. A Quiet Place
  9. Four Good Days
  10. The Courier

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 6, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong
  4. The Unholy
  5. Nobody
  6. The Marksman
  7. Profile
  8. Raya and the Last Dragon
  9. Tom & Jerry
  10. The Courier

Jury Still Out on Streaming/Theatrical Hybrid Movie Releases

NEWS ANALYSIS — With the domestic box office picking up steam over the Memorial Day weekend as more moviegoers get vaccinated and consumer confidence grows, Hollywood’s rushed streaming/theatrical hybrid movie distribution experiment receives further scrutiny.

Disney’s Cruella, the live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil, finished a distant second over the weekend with $26.5 million at the box office to $57 million for Paramount Pictures’ apocalyptic sequel A Quiet Place Part II. Disney also made the Emma Stone-starrer available for purchase to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 Premier Access. With a reported 688,000 households opting to purchase the movie, according to Samba TV, Disney generated another $20.5 million in higher-margin revenue than theatrical. When combined with $16.1 million in foreign ticket sales, the movie totaled $63.1 million over the weekend.

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That narrows the fiscal gap significantly to A Quiet Place Part II, which generated $22 million internationally, to total $79 million over the holiday weekend.

Now, what if ViacomCBS had made the movie available on PVOD to Paramount+ and Showtime OTT subs? Would that have enhanced the movie’s fiscal take considering the two streaming services had 36 million subscribers globally at the end of the most-recent fiscal period? Would the added sub revenue have been worth obliterating the theatrical window and risking ticket sales?

Paramount didn’t take that chance. Instead, the media company opted to screen A Quiet Place Part II exclusively in theaters for 45 days before making it available for no extra cost to Paramount+ subscribers.

Box Office Pro analyst Shawn Robbins contends that without transparency from studios on streaming data, it’s a guessing game how well the hybrid distribution model is working.

“One might even argue the silence on streaming data speaks volumes about how studios feel about the results so far,” Robbins told Observer.

On a fiscal call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant remained loyal to the theatrical window — and alternative distribution, depending on the movie in question.

Indeed, Cruella, whose box office fell below the studio’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil with $39.5 million, saw its Premier Access sales finish almost 40% below Disney’s first PVOD release, Mulan, over the Labor Day weekend last year.

“One of the things we learned is flexibility is good because there’s two dynamics going on: One is people’s willingness to return to theaters and theaters’ ability to return in a meaningful way,” Chapek told analysts. “And then the second is the change in consumer behavior that’s happening naturally, with COVID probably acting as a bit of a catalyst, but was going to happen anyway.”

Regardless, Warner Bros. Discovery, the latest pending iteration of the former Time Warner, plans to return to the theatrical window in 2022 following this year’s hybrid HBO Max/theatrical concurrent release strategy.

“You should expect us to lean into theatrical distribution for decades and decades to come,” CEO Jason Kilar told a separate Wall Street panel.

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Stomps to Top of Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

The actioner Godzilla vs. Kong led both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts the week ended May 23.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

From Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown and debuted for digital purchase May 21. In this installment in the MonsterVerse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

Disney’s animated Raya and the Last Dragon, available for digital rental or purchase, rose to No. 2 from No. 4 on the Vudu chart and remained at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart for the week. In the fantasy adventure, long ago, in the world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. When sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good.

Falling to No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 4 on Vudu) after a three-week reign at No. 1 on both charts was the Liam Neeson actioner The Marksman, available for digital rental and purchase. The Universal Pictures film follows a hardened border town rancher (Neeson) who helps a young boy escape to safety across America with vicious drug cartel assassins on their heels.

Rising from No. 9 to No. 3 on the Vudu chart and from No. 8 to No. 5 on the FandangoNow chart was the animated and live-action comedy Tom & Jerry, which became available for digital purchase May 18. The Warner Bros. film, featuring Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña and Colin Jost, follows the iconic mouse Jerry who moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner (Moretz) to hire Tom to get rid of him. The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them.

Landing at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 6 on Vudu) was Universal Pictures’ Nobody, available for premium VOD rental. The suspense actioner stars Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) as a seemingly ordinary suburban husband and father whose pent-up fury is unleashed when his home is broken into. His search for vengeance unveils a secret from his past.

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Taking the fifth spot on the Vudu chart (No. 8 on FandangoNow) was Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking, which became available for digital purchase May 14. In the film — based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future — Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Daisy Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 23, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Godzilla vs. Kong
  2. Raya and the Last Dragon
  3. Tom & Jerry
  4. The Marksman
  5. Chaos Walking
  6. Nobody
  7. The Little Things
  8. Four Good Days
  9. The Croods: A New Age
  10. Justice Society: World War II

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 23, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Godzilla vs. Kong
  2. The Marksman
  3. Raya and the Last Dragon
  4. Nobody
  5. Tom & Jerry
  6. Four Good Days
  7. The Little Things
  8. Chaos Walking
  9. Riders of Justice
  10. Together Together