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VOD Box Office: Universal Thrives, ‘Sniper’ Series Stays Alive, ‘Mulan’ Hides, ‘Cuties’ Rises

Forget the muddled "Tenet" data. We are stuck trying to guess what is clicking where most folks are watching movies. Clues exist.

Mulan"

“Mulan”

Disney

Mulan” (Disney) likely had the greatest revenues of any feature films available in homes this weekend. At $29.99, five times or more costly than alternatives and only in its second week of availability, the big-budget remake more than ever needs PVOD to bolster its chances to recoup its cost. With disappointing initial theatrical results in China ($23 million for its initial weekend), one of the countries where it is not streaming, Disney+ interest becomes even more important.

Perhaps the Chinese fiasco could lead to Disney replicating what Universal did with “Trolls World Tour” after its second weekend of home sales. It was an earnings call (not due for several weeks now though), but that is the one time the studio has released specific numbers on one of its releases ($95 million to that point).

After a weekend where much of the media finally noticed that “Tenet” had its initial domestic gross success overstated because of confusion over how many days were covered, at least give Warner Bros. credit for keeping the public in the loop. For home video, we continue to need to try to interpret the data we have.

That information comes back to where we have been for months since Universal initially raced to put current releases no longer playing in theaters like “The Invisible Man” on PVOD. They have released less output recently, but they remain ahead of the pack as seen from this week’s charts on multiple platforms.

“The King of Staten Island” and “Irresistible,” now standard-cost films on VOD, still rank high on charts that list by transactions, not revenues. They place #2 and #3 at Apple TV, and both are in the top five at cable VOD provider Spectrum. “King” is #1 overall at the moment at Google Play. “Trolls” remains on two of three lists five months after it first had PVOD play.

YouTube/screenshot

“Bill & Ted Face the Music” (United Artists), in its third week out, is off its best showings. It remains atop FandangoNow’s revenue-based list (“Fatima”/Picturehouse, also $19.99, is second there). Despite its higher cost, “Bill & Ted” still more than holds its own among lower-priced totals in total purchases. At this point, there is no indication that United Artists will ever release numbers.

Action home originals with veteran stars continue to gain traction. “The 2nd” (Momentum) with Ryan Phillippe and Casper Van Dien was #1 at Spectrum (its weekly chart tracks through Thursday), and was also atop both Apple TV and Google Play charts for much of the week before dropping in the current daily ones. It is third at FandangoNow, and tops among non-PVOD titles.

“Sniper: Assassin’s End” (Sony) supplanted it at #1 at Apple TV. The latest Tom Berenger starrer in a franchise that goes back to 1993 was boosted by its $0.99 price after having an initial release as a standard VOD back in April.

Two new entries this week, both on FandangoNow initially, are “The Owners” (RLJE) and “Critical Thinking” (Vertical). The first is a horror story about an elderly couple turning the tables on a groups of kids who broke into their home. John Leguizamo directed and stars in “Critical,” which tells the story of the first inner-city high school chess team to soar in the national championship.

“Antebellum”

“Antebellum” (Lionsgate) is next up in PVOD with the made-for-theatrical horror film available Friday at $19.99.

Netflix has an unusual week with their top seven — at the moment — originals. And they are a varied group. Animated original “Pets United,” just out, is on top, with horror-themed “The Babysitter: Killer Queen”  second. Next up are two critically noted titles, the Sundance documentary “The Social Dilemma” about tech experts raising alarms is #3. Controversy has boosted the French “Cuties,” otherwise not as likely to have such high viewing, at #4. Hopefully those watching can judge for themselves the claims made about its intent. “#Alive,” a Korean horror title, had earlier led the chart, now placing fifth.

After a few days on the top 10, Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thing of Ending Things” has dropped off. It peaked at #7 last week, with no listing since last Tuesday. Netflix will need to find a better way to market its awards titles in these times.

As for “Mulan,” our only data is from the Disney+ “trending” list. Is that their top choice ranking? Netflix has a trending chart different from their most-watched list. In any event, it is #3 at the moment, surrounded by other films available for free to subscribers. A little help in clarifying would be appreciated.

Apple TV

Ranked by number of transactions, with position as of Monday, September 14

1. Sniper: Assassin’s End (Sony) – $0.99

2. Irresistible (Focus) – $5.99

3. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $5.99

4. The 2nd (Momentum) – $5.99

5. Force of Nature (Lionsgate) – $5.99

6. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

7. #Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (Dark Star) – $5.99

8. The Silencing (XYZ) – $6.99

9. Made in Italy (IFC) – $6.99

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

FandangoNOW

Ranked by revenue accrued not transactions, for September 7 – 13

1. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

2. Fatima (Picturehouse) – $19.99

3. The 2nd (Momentum) – $5.99

4. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $5.99

5. Guest House (Lionsgate) – $5.99

6. The Tax Collector (RLJE) – $6.99

7. The Owners (RLJE) – $5.99

8. The Silencing (XYZ) – $6.99

9. Irresistible (Focus) – $5.99

10. Critical Thinking (Vertical) – $6.99

Spectrum

Ranked by transactions for September 4-10; all $6.99 except as noted

1. The 2nd (Momentum)

2. Irresistible (Universal)

3. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

4. Fatima (Picturehouse) – $19.99

5. The King of Staten Island (Universal)

6. Hard Kill (Vertical)

7. The Tax Collector (RGLE)

8. The Rogue (Archstone)

9. Trolls World Tour (Universal)

10. The Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner Bros.)

Google Play

Ranked by number of transactions, with the daily position as of Monday, September 14

1. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $5.99

2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount) – $4.99

3. The 2nd (Momentum) – $5.99

4. Trolls World Tour (Universal) – $5.99

5. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

6. The Tax Collector (RLJE) – $6.99

7. The Silencing (XYZ) – $6.99

8. Guest House (Lionsgate) – $5.99

9. Homefront (Open Road) – $3.99

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

Netflix Movies

Most-viewed, current ranking as of Monday, September 14

1. Pets United (2020 Netflix animated original)

2. The Babysitter: Killer Queen  (2020 Netflix original)

3. The Social Dilemma (2020 Netflix documentary original)

4. Cuties (2020 Netflix French original)

5. #Alive (2020 Netflix South Korean original)

6. Dad Wanted (2020 Netflix original)

7. Love Guaranteed (2020 Netflix original)

8. How to Treat Your Dragon 2 (2014 theatrical release)

9. Due Date (2010 theatrical release)

10. The Smurfs (2011 theatrical release)

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