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.
Disney+ does not release streaming numbers or charts — at least not yet — but as of mid-May, there were 54 million subscribers to Disney+. It’s safe to say that a majority of them watched some or all of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton over the Fourth of July weekend. It’s also safe to say that a lot of Disney+ subscribers probably watched the two-hour-and-four-minute Broadway production multiple times. Walking has become a very popular activity during the pandemic, and I suspect that there were people all over the nation taking walks around their neighborhood this weekend, looking into the windows of houses dotted along those streets, and seeing Hamilton playing on millions of television sets in those living rooms.
In fact, I cannot imagine a better way to spend Independence Day than by watching one of the most successful musicals of all-time, which also happens to be about Alexander Hamilton, our Founding Fathers, the fight for Independence, as well as how the first years of this country were shaped. There are 121 reviews of Hamilton on Rotten Tomatoes and, so far, there is only one negative review. It is that good.
Meanwhile, on the VOD charts — and on the other side of the political spectrum — Mel Gibson’s Force of Nature debuted at number 5 on Fandango’s charts, and number three on iTunes, despite a meager 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The film stars Gibson and Emile Hirsch (both of whom have problematic personal histories) as white cops battling Puerto Rican villains during a hurricane. It’s hard to believe the movie came out in this political environment, but there always seems to be an audience for Gibson, even in supporting roles, as he is here.
The top film on iTunes, meanwhile, is The Outpost, a Rod Lurie film starring Scott Eastwood and Orlando Bloom, based on a book written by CNN anchor Jake Tapper, which itself is based on the true story of 2009 The Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan. It’s also receiving very good reviews (89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and while I haven’t seen the movie, Jake Tapper can typically be trusted when it comes to veterans and the military, toward whom he has devoted much of his career.
Otherwise, there are a couple of increasingly familiar titles on VOD in Pete Davidson’s King of Staten Island, which is still doing well nearly a month after its release, and Jon Stewart’s Irresistible, number four on both iTunes and Fandango’s VOD charts. As for fun wrinkles in this week’s chart: Will Smith’s Independence Day is at number six on iTunes, for obvious reasons.
Meanwhile, over on Netflix, it’s an unusual weekend, in which two old Boston-set movies are leading the way. Mark Wahlberg’s Patriot’s Day, about the Boston Marathon bombing, has resurfaced and is at number one, while Ben Affleck’s fantastic The Town is at number two. Weird. Number three is a Netflix original rom-com, Desperadoes, starring Nasim Pedrad, Anna Camp, and Lamorne Morris. It looks kind of cute, but critics so far are not liking it (it sits at 24 percent on RT).
Last week’s top film, Will Ferrell’s Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga falls to number four, while the film that has spent the most time in the top five this year, 365 Days, is still at number five, inexplicably. It’s also worth nothing that Splice, a fantastic 2009 horror movie that should be more popular than it is, sits at number ten this weekend. It comes from producer Guillermo del Toro, and director Vincenzo Natali. Check it out.
Next weekend sees the release of Tom Hanks’ Greyhound on Apple+, and Andy Samberg’s Palm Springs on Hulu, in what may end up being the movie of the summer. Meanwhile, Charlize Theron’s Old Guard debuts on Netflix, and is expected to do very well. It looks fantastic.