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.
On Memorial Day weekend last year, Aladdin opened with more than $110 million, John Wick: Chapter 3 earned $31 million in its second weekend, and Avengers: Endgame crossed the $800 million mark after five weeks. Brightburn also opened that weekend. Remember James Gunn’s Brightburn? No one else does, either. It opened last year with $9.5 million and faded from there.
The box office would kill right now for a $9.5 million flop, especially when a horror movie called The Wretched has been at the top of the box office in May, earning around $300,000 in drive-in theaters. Even “successes,” like the release of last weekend’s Tom Hardy movie Capone, feel underwhelming, as it earned about $2.5 million in revenue on a $20 million budget. It may earn a profit, but it’ll be a long haul, and it’s already fallen from second to 11th on the iTunes rental charts, while it’s now 7th on Fandango’s VOD charts.
The top five on the VOD charts look a lot like they did a month ago, with the exception of Scoob!, which remains the top film on all the digital charts (iTunes, Fandango, Amazon). Given its placement the last two weeks, it’s curious as to why Warner Brothers hasn’t released any figures, since Universal was so eager to brag about the $100 million success of Trolls World Tour.
Otherwise, the VOD charts include familiar titles: Bad Boys for Life, Sonic the Hedgehog, and The Invisible Man. It is worth noting, however, that while it hasn’t been in the top five since the outset of the pandemic, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out has been hovering in the top tier of releases for a couple of months, so cumulatively it’s doing very well, as are a few other titles that cling to the upper rungs like The Way Back, Bloodshot, and Emma.
There’s not much shaking on the Hulu movie charts this weekend, although it is worth noting that a movie called Military Wives starring Kristen Scott Johnson and Sharon Horgan, which is getting fairly good reviews, is available now on Hulu. It’s also doing OK on the iTunes rental charts for those who do not have Hulu. The Painter and the Thief is also on Hulu, and it is getting phenomenal reviews.
Elsewhere, over on Netflix, the highly anticipated Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani romcom Lovebirds, has debuted in the top spot this Memorial Day weekend. The film was supposed to be released in theaters last month, but when that fell through, it became the first movie of the pandemic to move from theaters to Netflix. Reviews suggest that it probably was best suited to Netflix from the beginning. It’s not that it’s getting unfavorable reviews (66 percent), it’s just that most of the reviews note the low-stakes. It feels like a Netflix and chill kind of movie, although I’m sure many of us would kill to see it — or anything else — in a movie theater this weekend.
In at number two is Happy Madison’s The Wrong Missy, last weekend’s top Netflix film. The reviews may be terrible, but it’s clear that the money Netflix is spending for these Adam Sandler produced films is worth it for the streaming service. In fact, another Adam Sandler film, Just Go with It (with Jennifer Aniston), jumped to number three this weekend. Meanwhile at number four and five are Soul Surfer and Public Enemies, two more films that have weirdly resurfaced on Netflix during the pandemic.