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‘Smile’ Earns an Unexpected Yawn from Some Major VOD Platforms

Go VOD or go streaming? Paramount opted for both for the horror hit, and the result may have cut deeply into their $19.99 transactions.

SMILE, Caitlin Stasey, 2022. © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Smile”

©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Smile” ($19.99), Paramount’s sleeper original horror hit, debuted on PVOD 45 days into release. After grossing an unexpected $105 million domestic gross so far, plus even more overseas, the $17 million production should have been expected to be an easy #1 on all VOD charts.

Instead, it leads only at Vudu, where its premium price guaranteed a #1 position with that site ranking by revenue, not transactions. It is currently #5 at Google Play, and #10 at iTunes (where it earlier peaked at #4), and there only by not including a five-film “Pirates of the Caribbean” package that sits at #8.

So, what happened?

The easiest explanation is that, unlike when the studio placed “Top Gun: Maverick” on VOD platforms, “Smile” is also streaming on Paramount + free for subscribers. That hasn’t been the norm recently, as studios like Universal (Peacock), Disney (Disney +), and Warner Bros. Discovery (HBO Max) have tended to take the lucrative cash from a PVOD rental (their share around $14) before hitting up streaming.

Paramount+ is reported to have over 46 million subscribers, so that covers a lot of potential viewers. It makes some sense to give preference to subscribers and it makes the strong case for retention (as churn is an increasing issue for streaming sites). But they do give up a considerable, if uncertain amount of immediate revenue.

Universal has excelled in keeping its new releases that hit PVOD — which usually arrive on platforms after their third weekend in theatrical release — separate from those later Peacock showings. That’s one reason they have 13 of the 30 possible positions on the three charts listed below (iTunes and Google Play listing by transactions). Their “Ticket to Paradise” ($19.99) is #1 at iTunes, top three at all in its second week of release.

Still thriving are two long playing hits that have rotated many recent weeks at #1, both now at $5.99. “Top Gun: Maverick” is back at #1 at Google Play, #3 at iTunes, #5 at Vudu. “Bullet Train” (Sony) placed either #2 or #4 among the three. Again, neither is yet streaming.

Other new releases to show up this week include Lionsgate’s “Lamborghini: The Man and the Legend” ($6.99), a direct-to-PVOD release, #4 at iTunes, “Halloween Ends” (Universal/$19.99) #3 at Vudu after already streaming at Peacock, and “R.I.P.D. 2: The Rise of the Dead” (Universal/$19.99). The last curiously is #8 at Netflix, another sign of that streamer’s ongoing relationship with Universal and an unusual same day play as VOD.

“Ticket,” “Bullet,” “Maverick,” and “Smile” composed the list of titles showing up on all four charts. A caveat: Vudu again lists TV’s “Yellowstone: Season 5 Part 1” as #2, omitted from our list and raising titles below one notch.

SLUMBERLAND - (L-R) Jason Momoa as FLIP and Marlow Barkley as NEMO. Cr: Netflix © 2022

“Slumberland”

Courtsey of Netflix

Four new Netflix originals debuted on the streamer’s top ten, joining previous homegrown #1s “Enola Holmes 2” and “Falling for Christmas” on their list. After more than a week at #1, Sony’s hit “Where the Crawdads Sing” dropped to second, with “Slumberland” debuting at #1. Jason Momoa stars as an outlaw who guides a young girl into a challenging dream world. It was directed by Frances Lawrence, whose hits include “I Am Legend” and “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

Previously acclaimed at film festivals, Sebastian Lelio’s psychological thriller “The Wonder” with star Florence Pugh got as high as #4 during the week, presently at #7. Higher up are “Christmas with You” at #3 and the documentary “I Am Valerie Guillen” #4, again their originals.

Also of note: “Sing 2” is back after a week’s absence, notching its place as the longest-ever running title on these charts. It just keeps getting massive viewing.

iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for November 21. Distributors listed are current rights owners. Prices for all titles are for rental.

iTunes

1. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) – $19.99

2. Bullet Train (Sony) – $5.99

3. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $4.99

4. Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend (Lionsgate) – $6.99

5. Nope (Universal) – $5.99

6. Jurassic World: Dominion (Universal) – $5.99

7. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing (United Artists) – $2.99

9. Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) – $5.99

10. Smile (Paramount) – $19.99

Google Play

1. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $4.49

2. Bullet Train (Sony) – $5.99

3. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) – $19.99

4. Nope (Universal) – $5.99

5. Smile (Paramount) – $19.99

6. Terrifier 2 (Cinedigm) – $7.99

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) – $4.99

8. Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) – $4.99

9. Jurassic World: Dominion (Universal) – $5.99

10. Where the Crawdads Sing (Sony) – $5.99

Vudu

Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, which elevates Premium VOD titles. This list covers  November 14-20.

1. Smile (Paramount) – $19.99

2. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) – $19.99

3. Halloween Ends (Universal) – $19.99

4. Bullet Train (Sony) – $5.99

5. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $4.99

6. Terrifier 2 (Cinedigm) – $7.99

7. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

8. Amsterdam (Disney) – $19.99

9. Beast (Universal) – $5.99

10. R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned (Universal) – $5.99

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily chart on Monday, November 21. Originals include both Netflix-produced and acquired titles it initially presents in the U.S. Netflix publishes its own weekly top 10 on Tuesdays based on time viewed.

1. Slumberland (2022 Netflix original)

2. Where the Crawdads Sing (2022 theatrical release)

3. Christmas with You (2022 Netflix original)

4. I Am Valerie Guillin (2022 Netflix documentary original)

5. Falling for Christmas (2022 Netflix original)

6. The Bad Guys (2022 theatrical release)

7. The Wonder (2022 Netflix original)

8. R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned (2022 VOD release)

9. Enola Holmes 2 (2022 Netflix original)

10. Sing 2 (2021 theatrical release)

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