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‘Hamilton’ Rules Disney+ Over July 4, but the VOD Success Story Is Rod Lurie’s ‘The Outpost’

Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical owned social media over the holiday weekend, but Rod Lurie's war movie found major success at a modest price.

“Hamilton”

A trio of original films, all initially expected to have theatrical releases, found considerable interest at home over the holiday weekend. Broadway juggernaut “Hamilton,” Rod Lurie War movie “The Outpost,” and Jon Stewart’s political comedy “Irresistible” have little in common on the surface, but each served as a July 4th tie-in its way. Their shared success reflects a public that remains interested in original movies — wherever they may watch them.

“Hamilton,” set in the formative days of the republic, may have been the home viewing event of the weekend. Unlike rival Netflix, Disney+ doesn’t provide a list of its most popular offerings. Gauging response to the studio’s $75 million acquisition of the original show’s recording is mostly anecdotal, but app analytics provider Apptopia says Disney+ downloads over the weekend were 266,084 — a 72 percent increase when compared to the average number of Disney+ downloads over the four previous weekends.

For the sake of argument, we’ll extrapolate that increase and attribute it to “Hamilton.” On that basis, the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical can take credit for 111,000 additional customers. At $6.99 for a single month, that’s around $800,000; if those customers become annual subscribers at $69.99 per year, that would be about $7.8 million.

Welcome to the tricky world of analyzing streaming and VOD. At least for Netflix, we can see immediate response to its original films and how long it sustains (both “Eurovision” and “Da 5 Bloods” had two days at #1 among all movies, but also dropped quickly). Disney will report overall streaming subscription numbers at least once per quarter thanks to the SEC requirements of a publicly traded company, but beyond that there’s little to track.

That lack of specific numbers is frustrating. Case in point: Rod Lurie’s Afghan war drama “The Outpost” initially looks quite strong. It is #1 at iTunes; even more impressively, it’s #1 at FandangoNow, which ranks by total revenue — even though “The Outpost” costs $6.99, a third of “Irresistible” and “The King of Staten Island.” That makes it the first non-premium price film to rank first since mid-March, when the push toward first-run Premium VOD began. That suggests very elevated interest.

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“The Outpost”

“The Outpost” stars Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood, and Milo Gibson (two second-generation actors there) who recreate a key 2012 battle in a remote spot near the Pakistan border. Its strong reaction again validates the belief that along with horror, war films are the easiest to get quick attention on VOD. This had ambitious plans to open as a Fathom release on July 2 with hoped-for theater reopenings, then continue along with VOD. Instead, Screen Media stuck to mainly home viewing (the company’s usual platform), with only a handful of theaters (which played to little impact). At home, it hit pay dirt; the key is whether that can be sustained.

The second weekend of Jon Stewart’s political comedy “Irresistible” found it #1 for the full week at Spectrum, #5 at FandangoNow (because there is no EST option, iTunes doesn’t list it). This is a more specialized title, with mediocre reviews. But it does seem to be getting more than a first week’s attention so far, and it might score better on VOD than it might have at critic-sensitive specialized theaters. “Staten Island,” “You Should Have Left,” “Trolls World Tour” (all Universal) continue their consistent PVOD response.

Also of note among other new entries is “Force of Nature” (Lionsgate), a robbery-during-a-hurricane thriller starring Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, and Mel Gibson. (Oddball note: It’s directed by indie veteran Michael Polish.) It placed top five at both iTunes and FandangoNow.

Apart from the quick “Eurovision” drop, the Netflix list reflects a number of newly programmed titles, mostly with mid-level theatrical histories that feels as random as ever. “Patriots Day” (Lionsgate) is #1, with their new original comedy “Desperados” at #2.

Amazon Prime

Ranked by number of transactions, with the daily position as of Monday, July 6

1. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $19.99

2. Trolls World Tour (Universal) – $19.99

3. The Greatest Showman (Disney) – $3.99

4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony) – $5.99

5. BlackKklansman (Focus) – $3.99

6. The Gentlemen (STX) – $5.99

7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate) – $1.99

8. Game Night (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

9. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount) – $3.99

10. Bad Boys for Life (Sony) – $5.99

FandangoNOW

Ranked by revenue accrued not transactions, for the weekend of July 3 – 5

1. The Outpost (Screen Media) – $6.99

2. Trolls World Tour (Universal) – $19.99

3. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $19.99

4. Force of Nature (Lionsgate) – $5.99

5. Irresistible (Focus) – $19.99

6. You Should Have Left (Universal) – $19.99

7. Scoob! (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

8. The Invisible Man (Universal) – $5.99

9. The Swing of Things (Lionsgate) – $5.99

10. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount) – $2.99

“Irresistible”

Spectrum

Ranked by transactions for June 26 – July 2; all $6.99 except as noted

1. Irresistible (Focus) – $19.99

2. You Should Have Left (Universal) – $19.99

3. The Invisible Man (Universal)

4. Burden (101)

5. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $19.99

6. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)

7. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)

8. The Hunt (Universal)

9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)

10. Onward (Disney)

iTunes

Ranked by number of transactions, with the daily position as of Monday, July 6; excludes premium VOD rental-only titles

1. The Outpost (Screen Media) – $6.99

2. Terminator: Dark Fate (Paramount) – $0.99

3. Independence Day (Disney) – $3.99

4. Trolls World Tour (Universal) – $19.99

5. Force of Nature (Lionsgate) – $5.99

6. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount) – $2.99

7. Looper (Sony) – $4.99

8. The Invisible Man (Universal) – $5.99

9. Tomb Raider (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

10. The Mummy (Universal) – $3.99

Netflix Movies

Most-viewed, current ranking as of Monday, July 6

1. Patriots Day (2016 theatrical release)

2. Desperados (2020 Netflix original)

3. The Town (2010 theatrical release)

4. A Thousand Words (2012 theatrical release)

5. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007 theatrical release)

6. Double Jeopardy (1999 theatrical release)

7. 365 Days (2020 Polish Netflix original)

8. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020 Netflix original)

9. Extraction (2020 Netflix original)

10. The Witches (1990 theatrical release)

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