Report: More Than 3 Million U.S. Households Streamed ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Through End of 2020

The nation’s most-hyped theatrical release, Wonder Woman 1984, was streamed by 3.03 million U.S. households through the end of the year, according to new data from Samba TV. WarnerMedia released the DC superhero movie starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig on Christmas Day in theaters and on the HBO Max SVOD service.

Samba tracks viewer recommend program data — called Automatic Content Recognition — from more than 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States.

The company said about 250,000 homes tuned in each of the last three nights of the year, with female streamers over-indexing about 2% when compared to the overall. Asian households increased by 16%, Hispanic (+14%), and African American (+4%), as did households making more than $100,000, residents aged 25-54, and under 20 years old. Viewership remained strongest in Seattle (+72%), San Francisco (+67%), and Portland (+41%).

Meanwhile, Disney/Pixar Animation’s Soul continued its mastery over WW84 with 3.8 million domestic households streaming the movie on Disney+ in its opening week (Dec. 25-31), while nearly 487,000 U.K. households watched it. The peak in both countries was on Dec. 26 when just over 1 million and 136,000 watched it, respectively.

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In the U.S., households with incomes under $75,000 over-indexed, as did homes with streamers under 45 years old. Households with a female increased streaming by 5%, followed by black households (+7%), and Hispanic (+15%). Of the top 25 markets, the most over-indexing were Portland (+20%), Los Angeles (+19%), and Seattle (+13%).

Finally, Samba said 109,000 U.K. households and 427,000 U.S. homes streamed the live-action Mulan remake from Christmas to New Year’s Eve (Dec. 24 through Dec. 31). The peak in the U.K. was on Dec. 26 with nearly 20,000 homes watching it that day, while in the U.S. the peak was on Dec. 25, with nearly 85,000 households streaming it that day.

Disney has not released data on how Mulan fared on its PVOD debut over the Labor Day weekend and through the end of 2020.

Samba reported that U.S. households with residents 44 years old and younger over-indexed as compared to the country overall. Black households increased 3%, while Hispanic homes increased 20%. Notably, Asian households under indexed by 12%. Of the Top 25 markets, St. Louis (+54%) and Orlando (+32%) over-indexed the most.

Report: More U.S. Households Streamed Disney’s ‘Soul’ Than Warner Bros.’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Over Christmas Weekend

While Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman 1984 has generated the majority of headlines since its Christmas Day simultaneous bow in theaters and on HBO Max, Disney/Pixar Animation’s Soul quietly pulled an upset.

The jazz music-themed title was streamed by 2.4 million Disney+ households in the U.S. over the holiday weekend — 200,000 more than streamed WW84 domestically on Max, according to new data from Samba TV.

Samba TV reportedly tracks viewer recommend program data — called Automatic Content Recognition — from more than 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States.

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The Christmas weekend provided the first real test for how blockbuster movies might perform on streaming services when released in movie theaters at the same time. Disney’s Soul was pulled at the last minute from the theatrical slate and given as a freebie to 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers.

Samba said about 651,000 U.K. households streamed Soul, with the peak in both the U.S. and U.K. occurring on on Dec. 26, when just over 1 million households and 135,000 households streamed the movie, respectively.

By comparison, 2.2 million U.S. households streamed WW84 on Max, with viewership highest on Christmas (986,000) and progressively declining each day thereafter. The movie also generated $16.7 million at theaters, making WW84 the highest-grossing opening weekend theatrical release during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Samba said Disney’s live-action Mulan was streamed by 62,000 U.K. households and 259,000 U.S. households through Dec, 27. The peak in the U.K. was on Dec. 26, with nearly 20,000 households watching it that day, while in the U.S. the peak was on Dec. 25, with nearly 85,000 households streaming it.

European Cinema Operators ‘Shocked’ at Movies Bypassing Theaters for Disney+

Similarly to the situation in the United States, European theater operators are reeling from studios delaying new-release movies due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the trade group representing European exhibitors, has lashed out at Walt Disney Studios’ decision to bow Pixar Animation’s Soul on SVOD service Disney+ rather than in theaters.

“Disney’s decision to release Soul directly onto their streaming platform, depriving many audiences across Europe from seeing it on the big screen, has shocked and dismayed all cinema operators,” UNIC said in a statement.

Indeed, Soul represents the third major Disney title (after Artemis Fowl and Mulan) to forgo a theatrical release due to the pandemic. UNIC is upset since control of the pandemic is better in Europe than in the U.S., which has resulted in significantly better box office revenue.

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The vast majority of cinemas across Europe are now open and able to offer a “safe and enjoyable” return for moviegoers, according to UNIC. Like U.S. exhibitors, European operators have invested heavily in social distancing and sanitation protocols in theaters.

“Yet again, however, they find a distributor delivering another blow,” UNIC wrote. “The decision on Soul is doubly frustrating for operators who were counting on the release after the film was previewed at a number of key European film festivals.”

The trade group argues that there is compelling evidence that where moviegoers have returned, their experience was both safe and enjoyable. It also stressed that without major new releases, consumers won’t return to the big screen. Indeed, across Europe, many cinemas have since re-opening screened countless local releases, underlining the fact that first-run titles are now more important than ever.

UNIC said decisions to postpone titles, bypassing cinemas and the value they create, are extremely disappointing — and concerning — and will only delay the day that the whole industry is able to put crisis behind it.

“It is no exaggeration to say that by the time some studios decide that the moment is right to release their films, it may be too late for many European cinemas,” read the statement.