Home Viewers Are Willing to Pay Premium Prices for ‘Doctor Strange 2,’ Not So Much for Other PVOD Titles

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Last week, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (Disney/$19.99) was the big new release for home platforms. While we have no reports yet for its impact on Disney+ streaming subscribers, on the PVOD charts, the Marvel Cinematic Universe entry currently sits at #1 on both Vudu and Google Play and #2 at iTunes (where it had been in first its initial four days).

Otherwise, this week’s charts suggest a continuing a trend detected last week: outside of the week’s hottest new title, consumers are actively looking for films available to view for $5.99 or less, rather than opting for higher priced PVOD picks.

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Case in point? “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (Lionsgate/$5.99). The Nicolas Cage-starring meta comedy, which sees the actor starring as a version of himself (complete with winking and nodding at many of his on-screen characters), is currently #1 at iTunes, fifth on both Vudu and Google Play. What’s notable about this result is an overall much stronger showing for the film than its initial $19.99 reaction two weeks ago. It’s more common for reduced cost results to reflect levels of initial ranking response, but in this case, the initial higher interest in the reduced cost reinforces what seemed to be occurring last week.

This might reflect that Cage, in recent years, has thrived on VOD-centric offerings, the sort of films that arrive on VOD that same day as they hit theaters. Those films nearly all come out with a lower price initially, so it would make sense for core fans to want similar here.

But it’s hardly the only sign that consumers are seeking out cheaper titles. Both “Crimes of the Future” (Neon/$19.99) and “Watcher” (IFC/$6.99) were released last week after their third weekends. The latter is #3 at iTunes for its only top ten listing, while “Crimes” doesn’t even make their list of 30. At Google Play, it doesn’t make the top ten. Only on Vudu, which ranks by revenue, has David Cronenberg’s title ranked higher.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” - Credit: screenshot
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” - Credit: screenshot

screenshot

Neither film set fire at the box office, with “Crimes” currently sitting at over $2.4 million, about a half million better than “Watcher,” and that’s with a Cannes premiere to its name, as well as a cult director and well-known cast members. Meantime, “Memory” (Open Road/$19.99), the most recent Liam Neeson thriller, which had much less social media attention than either of those films, managed to get to #9 (because of its higher price) at Vudu, again better than the similar cost “Crimes.”

Elsewhere, other just-released PVOD films like “Downton Abbey: A New Era” (Focus/$19.99) and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24/$19.99) are trending much lower after strong initial showings. “Downton Abbey” only remains on Vudu’s revenue-based chart. Its fall is logically with its unusually early availability at Peacock.

These are all lower-budget releases, so this added revenue (even if the rankings aren’t at sustained top levels) doesn’t suggest any serious shortfall. And “Doctor Strange” flying high with its streaming parallel availability certainly suggests high prices aren’t yet necessarily a hindrance, at least for the top-grossing films.

Three of the titles who make all three charts — “Doctor Strange,” “The Bad Guys” (Universal), and “Everything Everywhere” — were PVOD at $19.99. Four others — “Morbius” and “Uncharted” (both Sony/$5.99), “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (Paramount, reduced to $3.99), along with “Unbearable Weight” — also placed on all.

“The Man from Toronto” - Credit: Sabrina Lantos/Netflix
“The Man from Toronto” - Credit: Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

Netflix’s charts have a big dose of major studio content. The just-released and widely derided comedy “The Man from Toronto” (Metacritic: 32) was an immediate #1. The Kevin Hart-starring film had been intended as a theatrical release, but Sony sold it to the streamer.

The most intriguing development though is that “Sing 2” is #2 after spending its first days available at #1. This seems perplexing, with Universal having its own streaming arm in the form of Peacock. Its absence there during a prolonged and very high trafficked VOD play seems odd, but it came about because Netflix has existing streaming rights for animated films from Universal’s unit Illumination Entertainment for now, similar to past titles that have played very well on the site. That’s a real plus for Netflix, with the expectation that it could now see a lengthy run of its top 10. But all these deals have an expiration date.

“Hustle,” now several weeks old, is still doing well (#6). “Spiderhead” from “Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski, an original for them, fell quickly to #7. “Love & Gelato,” a new-this-week Rome-set rom-com, is at #5 just after its debut.

iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for June 27. Distributors listed are current rights owners.

iTunes

1. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Lionsgate) – $5.99

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney) – $19.99

3. Watcher (IFC) – $6.99

4. The Bad Guys (Universal) – $19.99

5. The Contractor (Paramount) – $2.99

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony) – $5.99

7. Morbius (Sony) – $5.99

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) – $19.99

9. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount) – $3.99

10. Uncharted (Sony) – $5.99

 

Google Play

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney) – $19.99

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount) – $3.99

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony) – $5.99

4. Morbius (Sony) – $5.99

5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Lionsgate) – $5.99

6. Everything Everywhere Always All at Once (A24) – $19.99

7. The Lost City (Paramount) – $4.99

8. Uncharted (Sony) – $5.99

9. The Bad Guys (Universal) – $19.99

10. Father Stu (Sony) – $5.99

 

Vudu

Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, which elevates Premium VOD titles. This list covers June 20-26

 

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney) – $19.99

2. The Bad Guys (Universal) – $19.99

3. Morbius (Sony) – $5.99

4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount) – $3.99

5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Lionsgate) – $5.99

6. Uncharted (Sony) – $5.99

7. Downton Abbey: A New Era (Focus) – $19.99

8. Memory (Briarcliffe) – $19.99

9. The Lost City (Paramount) – $4.99

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) – $19.99

 

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily chart on Monday, June 27. Originals include both Netflix-produced and -acquired titles it initially presents in the U.S. Netflix publishes its own weekly top 10 on Tuesdays based on time viewed.

1. Man from Toronto (2022 Netflix original)

2. Sing 2 (2021 theatrical release)

3. The Mist (2007 theatrical release)

4. Backtrace (2018 VOD release)

5. Love & Gelato (2022 Netflix original)

6. Hustle (2022 Netflix original)

7. Spiderhead (2022 Netflix original)

8. It (2017 theatrical release)

9. Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness (2022 Netflix animated original)

10. Halftime (2022 Netflix documentary original)

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