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James Cameron Has a Rival for King of the Holidays as Two Rian Johnson Films Score Big in Home Viewing

Both of Johnson's "Knives Out" features score big in home viewership, but "Avatar" maestro Cameron shows up as well.

Knives Out

“Knives Out”

Claire Folger

James Cameron, you’ve got company. Turns out, the “Avatar” filmmaker isn’t the only go-to movie franchise-creator who enjoyed some big success over New Years weekend (“Avatar: The Way of Water” has taken in $446 million so far with a lot to go). Rian Johnson, whose “Star Wars” episode “The Last Jedi” grossed $539 million at lower ticket prices during this same weekend five years ago, now boasts two movies that also got heavy viewing over the weekend.

His Netflix original “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” leads for the second weekend on the streamer’s top ten (and has already cracked the streamer’s all-time top films), while franchise-starter “Knives Out” (Lionsgate/$3.99) is #1 at both iTunes and Google Play, while taking the #7 spot at revenue-tabulating Vudu (which favors higher-priced releases). Meanwhile, the 2009 “Avatar” (Disney/$3.99) is #8 at both iTunes and Google Play.

The reign of “Glass Onion” at Netflix was assumed, as the company previously announced its first weekend worldwide viewership of 35 million (short of a record, somewhat surprisingly). But it’s possible that December 23-25 (the first three days of the film’s Netflix availability) was less prime for viewing than it has been for other, earlier original films did. Over time, the film may well end up as their biggest hit.

Also at Netflix, Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s “White Noise,” another high profile original, placed #2. The cast of Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle as well as the original novel’s notability might be driving this entry, which received reviews considerably below what the director’s “Marriage Story,” also for Netflix, previously received.

Unlike the theatrical top ten, which remained little changed over the weekend (although “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ended up ahead of the second weeks of both “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and  “Babylon”), both the VOD and Netflix lists underwent look significantly different than last week. In part that comes from the near-total absence of classic Christmas-themed titles which flourished throughout December. But it also saw the influence of price reductions as well as the enduring draw of several recent hits.

Along with “Knives Out” and “Violent Night” (Universal/$19.99, still #1 at Vudu), three other titles made all three lists. “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount/$4.99-$5.99), despite now streaming for free at Paramount +, had the second best showing with two #2 placements and a #3. “The Woman King” and “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” (both Sony/$5.99) joined them, both with two fourth place or better positions.

The sole new entry this week is “Strange World” (Disney/$19.99), whose disappointing theatrical run might in part have been hampered by expectation of a small window. It is also streaming at Disney +, adding significant competition. It landed at #7 at Vudu only.

THE FABELMANS, from left: Julia Butters, Gabriel LaBelle, 2022. ph: Merie Weismiller Wallace / © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Fabelmans”

Merie Weismiller Wallace / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” (Universal/$19.99) placed only at #6 at iTunes, again not making the top ten at Vudu where its higher price should favor it. The film remains alive but muted in theaters, climbing 38 percent last weekend over Christmas.

“Matilda: The Musical,” a third Netflix original, is #3 on the streamer’s top ten. The rest of the titles are older theatrical releases, with the “The Invitation,” the most recent, coming in at #4.

iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for January 3. Distributors listed are current rights owners. Prices for all titles are for rental.

iTunes

1. Knives Out (Lionsgate) – $3.99

2. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $5.99

3. The Woman King (Sony) – $5.99

4. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) – $5.99

5. Triangle of Sadness (Neon) – $6.99

6. The Fabelmans (Universal) – $19.99

7. Violent Night (Universal) – $19.99

8. Avatar (Disney) – $3.99

9. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) – $5.99

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) – $12.99

Google Play

1. Knives Out (Lionsgate) – $3.99

2. Violent Night (Universal) – $19.99

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

4. The Woman King (Sony) – $5.99

5. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

6. Smile (Paramount) – $4.99

7. Black Adam (WBD) – $19.99

8. Avatar (Disney) – $3.99

9. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) – $5.99

10. Nope (Universal) – $5.99

Vudu

Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, which elevates Premium VOD titles. This list covers  December 26 – January 2

1. Violent Night (Universal) – $19.99

2. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $5.99

3. Black Adam (WBD) – $19.99

4. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) – $5.99

5. Prey for the Devil (Lionsgate) – $5.99

6. Strange World (Disney) – $19.99

7. Knives Out (Lionsgate) – $3.99

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

9. The Woman King (Sony) – $5.99

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) – $12.99

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily chart on Monday, December 26. 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. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix original)

2. White Noise (Netflix original)

3. Matilda: The Musical  (British Netflix original)

4. The Invitation (2022 theatrical release)

5. Trolls (2016 theatrical release)

6. Bullet Train (2022 theatrical release)

7. Sing 2 (2021 theatrical release)

8. No Escape (2015 theatrical release)

9. The Bad Guys (2022 theatrical release)

10. The Longest Yard (2005 theatrical release)

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