During the current worldwide pandemic, movie studios are no longer providing box-office figures because theaters have been shut down around the nation and the world. Because we are less interested in the actual figures themselves and more interested in what people are watching over the weekends, each week we will dive into Most Streamed and Bestseller Lists on Fandango, iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu to pinpoint the weekend’s most watched films.
This week, we saw maybe most expensive movie ever to premiere on VOD, and if Universal actually manages to score a hefty profit on this, I suspect we could see more “Home Premieres” like the one with Trolls World Tour, even after the pandemic. Even at $20 for a rental, Trolls World Tour topped both Fandango’s VOD chart and iTunes rental chart. I personally know 5 people who shelled out that much money, including myself, to keep their kids entertained for two hours. As a parent, however, I found the movie itself only marginally entertaining, and not nearly as good as the original Trolls, which itself was only memorable for that Justin Timberlake song, “Can’t Stop this Feeling.” NBC also offered all their employees a free digital download “to help provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.” If what NBC meant was “relief from their kids,” then maybe?
Meanwhile, the number two film on Fandango’s VOD chart was Like a Boss, a lightweight comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne, which is being offered for purchase for $25. The film only made $25 million at the box office, and critics hated it. Interestingly, Like a Boss is also being paired with another Tiffany Haddish film, Nobody’s Fool, and that package is number six on the charts, even though it goes for the same price as the stand-alone Like a Boss. Elsewhere on the VOD charts, Bad Boys for Life and Sonic the Hedgehog took spots three and four, while Invisible Man continues to do very well on VOD at number five, which will make Jason Blum happy.
Elsewhere, Birds of Prey has already flipped the switch from Buy Only to rental, and it still only managed #5 on the iTunes rental charts, behind Doctor Dolittle, also already available for rental. At number two, Matthew McConaughey’s Gentlemen seems to be doing better on the digital market, relatively speaking, than it did in theaters, while Little Women jumped to number three in its first week available for rent. Noteworthy this weekend is the reentry of The Passion of Christ at #16 and Hop at #17 for the Easter holiday.
On Hulu, I now know that their “Most Popular Movies” chart must be inaccurate, because Pete Davidson’s Big Time Adolescence is still the top film, even though Pokemon Detective Pikachu debuted on the service this week. So, their “Most Popular” listing is likely worthless, but they have a really good run of films for pandemic watching, including Big Time Adolescence, Parasite, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Over on Netflix, Gerard Butler’s Angel Has Fallen — which hung on in the lower rungs of the theatrical box office for weeks and quietly earned $150 million worldwide — debuted in the top spot on Netflix. These Fallen films have insane staying power, and seem to be tailor-made for the Netflix crowd. Love Wedding Repeat, based on the French film Plan de Table, is a Netflix original rom-com that debuted on the streaming service at number two this weekend. It stars Sam Claflin, Freida Pinto, and Olivia Munn. Reviews have not been good — it sits at 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — but then again, the Ed Helms’ comedy Coffee & Kareem was obliterated by critics, and it was the most watched movie last week and third most watched movie this week. Netflix clearly knows what it is doing.
Finally, the WWE movie for kids, The Main Event, premiered in the fourth spot on the Netflix chart. Reviews have not been good for it, either (33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but it is $20 cheaper than Trolls World Tour right now.