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With Liam Neeson and ‘The Croods: A New Age,’ Home Viewing Thrives

Charts prove that people are willing to pay top dollar to stream new titles at home, especially if they star a certain 68-year-old Irishman.

Unknown Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson in “Unknown”

screengrab Warner Bros. trailer

High-priced titles dominated the charts on New Year’s week with “The Croods: The New Age” leading the way. Sharing the glory was Liam Neeson: “Honest Thief,” a former theatrical/PVOD title, now thrives at $4.99, while Neeson’s 2011 Warner Bros. thriller “Unknown” is currently #1 at Netflix.

The thriving home-viewing market also includes “Soul” (Disney+ only) and “Wonder Woman 1984” (also in theaters). Neither studio reported specific results, though Warners claims “WW84” viewings by “millions” of subscribers. What constitutes a “view” remains undefined.

What stands out is the public is spending money on multiple high-price offerings. FandangoNow, which ranks by money spent, has a record nine PVOD titles in the top 10. (Only “Honest Thief” is standard priced at #4.) AmazonTV and GooglePlay (ranked by transaction, not price) also place PVOD entries in four of their five top slots.

Apart from “Croods,” the leading premium hits are “Tenet,” “Greenland,” and “The War With Grandpa.” At $14.99, “Grandpa”  is less expensive, “Greenland” is home-availability only, and “Croods” is part of Universal’s now-standard model of three weeks in theaters, then add PVOD. This variety in strategy, pricing, and choice of platform is part of the new normal.

Four of the other five PVOD titles listed are from Universal or Focus: “Let Him Go,” “Freaky,” “Half Brothers,” and “All My Life.” They rank lower, and all are on either one or two of the four charts. Universal will continue to show up with this month with “News of the World” and “Promising Young Woman” moving to PVOD.

“Shadow in the Cloud”


The war-set actioner “Shadow in the Cloud” with Chloe Grace Moretz is the sole fresh entry this week, and the first theatrical release of 2021 (it grossed around $50,000 in under 100 theaters). At $19.99, it showed up on two charts  — one based on transactions, the other on revenue. This is an example of risk-taking in deciding whether to release standard price or premium. Other distributors will note this title’s initial success.

As the brooding, older, reluctant action hero, the Liam Neeson subgenre continues to draw interest. “Honest Thief” thrived, reaching as high as #1 at AppleTV and beating all but the top three PVOD titles at FandangoNow, while Netflix scored with its 10-year-old “Taken” copycat as if it were a brand-new release. “Unknown” replaced Netflix original “We Can Be Heroes” from Robert Rodriguez, which replaced George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky.” Also thriving at Netflix are “classics” like “17 Again,” “Rango,” “4 Christmases,” “The Croods,” and “S.W.A.T.” — all of which are getting more views than highly touted originals like “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Prom,” two December releases that are now off its chart.


Apple TV

Ranked by number of transactions, with position as of Monday, January 4

1. Honest Thief (Briarcliff) – $5.99

2. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – $19.99

3. The War With Grandpa (101) – $14.99

4. Tenet (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

5. Greenland (STX) – $19.99

6. Shadow in the Cloud (Vertical) – $19.99

7. Love and Monsters (Paramount) – $4.99

8. The Informer (Vertical) – $5.99

9. Unhinged (Solstice) – $4.99

10. Buddy Games (Paramount) – $3.99


Ranked by revenue accrued not transactions, for December 28 – January 3

1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – $19.99

2. Greenland (STX) – $19.99

3. Tenet (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

4. Honest Thief (Briarcliff) – $14.99

5. The War With Grandpa (101) – $14.99

6. Let Him Go (Focus) – $19.99

7. Shadow in the Cloud (Vertical) – $19.99

8. Freaky (Universal) – $19.99

9. Half Brothers (Focus) – $19.99

10. All My Life (Universal) – $19.99

HONEST THIEF, from left: Anthony Ramos, Liam Neeson, Jai Courtney, 2020. © Open Road Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Honest Thief”

Everett Collection


Google Play

Ranked by number of transactions, with the daily position as of Monday, January 4

1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – $19.99

2. Tenet (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

3. Greenland (STX) – $19.99

4. The War With Grandpa (101) – $14.99

5. Honest Thief (Briarcliff) – $5.99

6. The Informer (Vertical) – $5.99

7. Love and Monsters (Paramount) – $4.99

8. The New Mutants (Disney) – $5.99

9. Elf (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

10. Unhinged (Solstice) – $4.99




Ranked by transactions between December 25-31, all priced $6.99 except where noted

1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – $19.99

2. The War With Grandpa (101) – $14.99

3. Greenland (STX) – $19.99

4. Breach (Saban)

5. Unhinged (Solstice)

6. The Informer (Vertical)

7. Let Him Go (Universal) – $19.99

8. Fatman (Saban)

9. All My Life (Universal) – $19.99

10. Love and Monsters (Paramount)



Netflix Movies

Most-viewed, current ranking as of Monday, January 4; originals include both Netflix-produced and -acquired titles

1. Unknown (2011 theatrical release)

2. 17 Again (2009 theatrical release)

3. We Can Be Heroes (2020 Netflix original)

4. 30 Minutes Are Less (2011 theatrical release)

5. Death to 2020 (2020 Netflix original documentary)

6. Four Christmases (2008 theatrical release)

7. Rango (2011 theatrical release)

8. The Midnight Sky (2020 Netflix original)

9. The Croods (2013 theatrical release)

10. S.W.A.T. (2003 theatrical release)





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