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Holiday Cheer, New and Old, Leads VOD and Netflix Charts

The distinction between theatrical and home viewing continues to fade as films like "Elf" excel on both platforms.

The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) discovers the perils of stealing Christmas in "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" from Illumination.

“The Grinch”

Photo Credit: Illumination and U

Even as COVID-19 reduces travel, the public is in a holiday mood. Along with anecdotal reports of near-record Christmas tree sales and an increase of home-lighting displays, we say 11 Christmas-related films flourish this week on VOD and streaming charts. This includes some overlap between home viewing and theaters, as well as some oddball trends that suggest the platforms increasingly bleed into one another.

Our four charts each have a different film at #1; another two titles made all four charts. Apple TV has “The Grinch” on top even after weeks of Netflix play. GooglePlay still ranks “The New Mutants” as #1.  Premium VOD entry “Let Him Go” leads at Spectrum, which counts by transactions; with a $19.99 price, that’s impressive. Revenue-based FandangoNow leads with “Honest Thief,” one of the top theatrical releases this fall. It has a mid-level PVOD price of $14.99, but as a new release this week it outpaced three more-expensive films.

The standout, however, is Jon Favreau’s 2003 “Elf” starring Will Ferrell. It was #3 among all films in theaters this weekend, and it placed #2 on all of our transactional charts, and #7 at FandangoNow despite only costing $3.99. Mel Gibson as an action Santa clearly hit a chord: “Fatman” again found top interest across the board. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is the leader among the other holiday-themed library titles, as it is also at theaters.

KJ Apa stars in SONGBIRD

“Songbird”

Courtesy of STXfilms

The week’s first-time charters include two new PVOD entries. The Michael Bay-produced “Songbird” managed fourth place at FandagoNow (again, elevated by its $19.99 price), while “Wild Mountain Thyme” is #8 (also at $19.99). Both show up below the top 10s of per-viewing charts; with good reaction, they could rise higher in the weeks ahead.

Netflix has four Christmas titles in its top 10 (including an original animated short), with “Ava” at #1 — another sign of cross-pollination among platforms. It also shows that producers are reaching out for any source that can provide revenue; that VOD play can elevate a title similar to theatrical runs, and that Jessica Chastain has established a niche as an action star.

The surprise, though, is “The Prom,” Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the Broadway musical starring Meryl Streep and James Corden, is not in the top spot. Its much-publicized original film, a possible contender for certain award slots (particularly the Golden Globes), attracts fewer eyeballs than a months-old assassin-for-hire film.

Still, it is doing much better than David Fincher’s “Mank” (which had a token initial chart appearance). Of course, these films have library value, possible later boosts from award nominations, and help attract top filmmakers. But the reality is the Netflix audience goes for broad appeal like holiday offerings such as the “Christmas Chronicles” sequel and “Jingle Jangle.”

Apple TV

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

1. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

2. Elf (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

3. Honest Thief (Briarcliff) – $14.99

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

5. Love and Monsters (Paramount) – $4.99

6. Love Actually (Universal) – $3.99

7. The Polar Express (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

8. Ava (Vertical) – $0.99

9. Fatman (Saban) – $6.99

10. The Holiday (Sony) – $2.99

 

FandangoNOW

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

1. Honest Thief (Briarcliff) – $14.99

2. Freaky (Universal) – $19.99

3. Let Him Go (Focus) – $19.99

4. Songbird (STX) – $19.99

5. Love and Monsters (Paramount) – $4.99

6. Fatman (Saban) – $6.99

7. Elf (Warner Bros.) –

8. Wild Mountain Thyme (Bleecker Street)

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 

10. Buddy Games (Paramount) – $4.99

5. The New Mutants (Disney) – $5.99

6. Unhinged (Solstice) – $4.99

7. Wander (Saban)

8. Come Play (Focus) – $19.99

9. Love and Monsters (Paramount) – $19.99

10. Elf (Lionsgate) – $5.99

Spectrum

Ranked by transactions between December 4 – 10; all priced $6.99 except where noted

1. Let Him Go (Universal) – $19.99

2. Elf (Warner Bros.)

3. Fatman (Saban)

4. Freaky (Universal) – $19.88

5. Buddy Games (Paramount)

6. Wander (Saban)

7. The New Mutants (Disney)

8. Girl (Screen Media)

9. 100% Wolf (Viva)

10. Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (Saban)

Google Play

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

 

1. The New Mutants (Disney) – $5.99

2. Elf (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

3. Buddy Games (Paramount) – $4.99

4. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

5. Fatman (Saban) – $6.99

6. Honest Thief (Briarcliff) – $14.99

7. Love and Monsters (Paramount) – $4.99

8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

9. Unhinged (Solstice) – $4.99

10. The Polar Express (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

Netflix Movies

Most-viewed, current ranking as of Monday, December 14; originals include both Netflix-produced and -acquired titles

1. Ava (2020 VOD release)

2. Prom (2020 Netflix original)

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2003 theatrical release)

4. The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020 Netflix original)

5. Triple 9 (2016 theatrical release)

6. The Christmas Chronicles (2018 Netflix original)

7. Peppermint (2018 theatrical release)

8. Marauders (2016 theatrical release)

9. Little Nicky (2000 theatrical release)

10. A Trash Truck Christmas (2020 Netflix animated short)

 

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