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‘Nobody’ Does It Better as Universal Scores Another PVOD Success

Universal seems to have found a profitable formula after a year of innovation and improvisation. Also strong: Roadside Attractions' "The Courier."

Bob Odenkirk as Hutch Mansell in "Nobody," directed by Ilya Naishuller.

Bob Odenkirk in “Nobody”

Allen Fraser/Unive

Score another dual-platform hit for Universal. “Nobody,” the revenge thriller starring Bob Odenkirk in the mode of Keanu Reeves in “John Wick.” With two top spots on PVOD charts, it also took second place at the theatrical box office in its fourth weekend, with a drop of only six percent.

The $19.99 rental title added home viewing while still at 2,405 theaters. Even with just three days’ availability, it scored #1 spots Apple (by rentals) and FandangoNow (by revenue). (It is also #7 at GoogleTV, which usually lags a few days behind Apple, but was released too late for inclusion on Spectrum Cable’s site).

A strategy originally conceived to buttress Universal from uncertain theatrical response, it’s become a hit for consumers at home while maintaining box-office interest. Four months into 2021, three studio titles from last year — “The Croods: A New Age,”  Focus Features’ “Promising Young Woman,” and “News of the World” continue to ride high on VOD. No revenue totals have been released, but their sustained performances suggest each saw revenues in the tens of millions — and with much higher shares than what theaters pay. Oscar contender “Promising Young Woman” benefited from its elevated VOD presence, along with its top theatrical gross among the nominees; that could boost it for Sunday’s ceremony.

“Nobody” had a pre-marketing budget of $16 million; worldwide, it grossed $34 million. The strong initial PVOD take, which gives Universal $16 per rental, again suggests that the two-step domestic release pattern is working. The biggest test will be “F9” in June. If, as presumed, it opens to over $50 million, it will have at least five weeks before home PVOD release.

“News of the World” took one of the other two top spots, at Spectrum. “Wonder Woman 1984” took the lead position at Google Play. On all four charts were “News of the World,” “Wonder Woman,” and last week’s strong debut “City of Lies” with Johnny Depp.


“The Courier”

Liam Daniel

Other PVOD titles with initial placement include “The Courier,” now in its fifth week of theater play (#3 at AppleTV, #4 at FandangoNow). Two films that previously saw streamer-subscriber viewing as well as theatrical — “Tom & Jerry” and “Nomadland” — are now in the PVOD arena. Chloe Zhao’s Oscar frontrunner is priced at $14.99, lower than usual. “Tom & Jerry” placed at two sites, while “Nomadland” is only at FandangoNow so far (#9).

The other fresh title, showing up at #3 at Spectrum, is Paramount’s terrorist thriller “Assault on VA-33” with Sean Patrick Flaherty and Marc Dascascos. It’s unclear whether this was ever intended as a theatrical release. Unlike some of their prime titles, this went to standard VOD rather any premium play or sale to a streamer.

Once again, Netflix picked up a recent VOD release and it leads the chart. “Synchronic,” a New Orleans-set thriller with Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as paramedics dealing with drug-related deaths, premiered at Toronto in 2019 before its initial domestic release. It immediately went to #1 at the streamer, ousting the Netflix original “Thunder Force” with Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy. “Synchronic” initially was released by WellGo Entertainment in October 2020 ($637,000 gross), then went to standard VOD in January. That seems to have provided the groundwork to spark interest among millions of Netflix’s subscribers.

Apple TV

Ranked by number of transactions, with position as of Monday, April 19

1. Nobody (Universal) – $19.99

2. Promising Young Woman (Universal) – $5.99

3. The Courier (Roadside Attractions) – $19.99

4. News of the World (Universal) – $5.99

5. City of Lies (Saban) – $6.99

6. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

7. Tron: Legacy (Disney) – $2.99

8. Breach (Saban) – $0.99

9. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney) – $29.99

10. Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar (Lionsgate) – $5.99



Ranked by revenue accrued not transactions, for April 12-18

1. Nobody (Universal) – $29.99

2. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney) – $29.99

3. Tom & Jerry (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

4. City of Lies (Saban) – $6.99

5. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

6. Chaos Walking (Lionsgate) – $19.99

7. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Paramount) – $19.99

8. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – $5.99

9. The Little Things (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

10. The Courier (Roadside Attractions) – $19.99


Google Play

Ranked by number of transactions, with the daily position as of Monday, April 19

1. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

3. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – $5.99

2. Monster Hunter (Sony) – $5.99

4. City of Lies (Saban) – $6.99

5. Promising Young Woman (Focus) – $5.99

6. News of the World (Universal) – $5.99

7. Nobody (Universal) – $19.99

8. Tom & Jerry (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

9. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney) – $29.99

10. Willy’s Wonderland (Screen Media) – $3.99



All priced $6.99 except where noted; 

1. News of the World (Universal)

2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

3. Assault on VA-33 (Paramount)

4. City of Lies (Saban)

5. The Croods: A New Age (Universal)

6. The Little Things (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

7. SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run (Paramount) – $19.99

8. Promising Young Woman (Focus)

9. Barb & Starr Go to Vista del Mar (Lionsgate)

10. The Vault (Saban)


Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking as of Monday, April 19; originals include both Netflix-produced and -acquired titles

1. Synchronic (2020 theatrical/VOD release)

2. Thunder Force (2021 Netflix original)

3. Why Did You Kill Me? (2021 Netflix original documentary)

4. The Little Rascals (1994 theatrical release)

5. Barb & Chelsea: The Lost Birthday (2021 Netflix animated original)

6. The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017 theatrical release)

7. Crimson Peak (2015 theatrical release)

8. Rush (2013 theatrical release)

9. Saving Private Ryan (1999 theatrical release)

10. Arlo: The Alligator Boy (2021 Netflix animated original)

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