Early Signs Point to ‘Mulan’ Outpacing ‘Hamilton’ on Disney+, Even With Premium Price

Charlie Kaufman's "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" ranked #4 at Netflix, and "The 2nd" ranked #1 on VOD charts.

The newest trend in home viewing: the hot title that seems to come out of nowhere. This week it’s “The 2nd,” which jumped to #1 on the AppleTV and GooglePlay movie rental charts. An actioner starring Ryan Phillippe and Casper Van Dien would never register within film Twitter, but that’s not the ruling sensibility of VOD.

This week had a range of alternative offerings, led by the Disney+ debut of “Mulan.” At an estimated $200 million cost, it is by far the most expensive feature film to skip domestic theaters for Premium VOD. This is also the second week of “Bill & Ted Face the Music” (United Artists), as well as first for “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” the start of Netflix’s fall awards-intended original releases. All that comes as “Tenet” (Warner Bros.) began its muted run in the U.S. as it tries to bring struggling theaters into recovery.

Until and unless Disney announces revenue or purchase details, we have only “Mulan” tea leaves. Unlike Netflix, Disney+ has no specific top 10 ranking. It does have a “trending” list, on which the film is #2 (behind hundreds of episodes of “The Simpsons;” each one watched counts toward its total). It is the #1 viewed movie, ahead of the just-added live-action “Cinderella” (unlike “Mulan,” it’s free with membership).

Additional data comes from streaming guide Reelgood, which claims 2 million users who access VOD platforms though its service. Reelgood shows that “Mulan” had a 15 percent share among all titles streamed. “Hamilton,” by comparison, had a share of 9.68 percent on its first Disney+ weekend; last weekend, PVOD “Bill & Ted” had a 5.36 percent share.

Ultimately, if 5 million consumers buy the film, that would bring in $150 million and nearly all revenue would go to Disney. The studio has begun international theatrical openings, with China and Russia as the two biggest. (Many other countries also are showing only on Disney+).

For what it’s worth: On what was otherwise a down Tuesday on Wall Street, Disney’s stock hit a six-month high.

In its second week, “Bill & Ted” fell on the charts that rank by transactions. Still, with a $19.99 cost, and also leading at price-calculated FandangoNow, it appears to be holding interest.

“The 2nd” may seem like an uninspired movie title, but its intended viewers took notice: It refers to the 2nd amendment. It’s another “Taken” ripoff, but with a twist. Phillippe is a former Green Beret who finds his son’s girlfriend kidnapped by terrorists, and her father is a Supreme Court Justice who will soon be the decisive vote on a gun law case. It placed atop both AppleTV and Google Play, and led among non-PVOD titles at revenue-based FandangoNow.

Netflix has its usual grab bag of random older titles among its top movies (“Due Date” and “Anaconda” among them). Their four originals, all new releases, are led by “Love, Guaranteed,” a rom-com with Damon Wayans, Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook from director Mark Steven Johnson (“Daredevil,” “Ghost Rider”). Next best is “Freaks: You’re One of Us,” a German (subtitled) action story involving an ordinary waitress who develops superpowers. Then, a 24-minute DreamWorks Animation short.

In fourth place among originals (#9 overall) was the heavily promoted awards candidate, Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” Based on an acclaimed 2016 novel, it is the third film directed by Kaufman, who also wrote “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Because platform openings are impossible now, this opened without theaters. Perhaps that hurt, or possibly the lack of star power (though Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley are highly regarded), but it has struggled to gain traction at Netflix. It showed up at #7 on Sunday (two days after release) and now ranks #8, despite heavy promotion.

Other fresh titles to chart include “Robin’s Dream” (Vertical), a documentary about Robin Williams’ final months, “Guest House” (Lionsgate), a comedy starring Pauly Shore, and “#Unfit” (Dark Star), a documentary analyzing Donald Trump’s mental health.

“Irresistible”Focus Features/screenshot

Apple TV

Ranked by number of transactions, with position as of Tuesday, September 8

1. The Second (Momentum) – $5.99

2. Irresistible (Focus) – $5.99

3. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

4. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $5.99

5. Robin’s Wish (Vertical) – $6.99

6. The Silencing (XYZ) – $6.99

7. Guest House (Lionsgate) – $5.99

8. 42 (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

9. The Tax Collector (RLJE) – $6.99

10. Office Space (Disney) – $3.99



Ranked by revenue accrued not transactions, for  August 31 – September 7

1. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

2. Fatima (Picturehouse) – $19.99

3. The 2nd (Momentum) – $5.99

4. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $5.99

5. The Tax Collector (RLJE) – $6.99

6. #Unfit (Dark Star) – $5.99

7. Rogue (Grindstone) – $5.99

8. Irresistable (Focus) – $6.99

9. Robin’s Wish (Vertical) – $19.99

10. Hard Kill (Vertical) – $6.99



Ranked by transactions for August 28 – September 3; all $6.99 except as noted

1. Hard Kill (Vertical)

2. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

3. The King of Staten Island (Universal)

4. Fatima (Picturehouse) – $19.99

5. The Tax Collector (RGLE)

6. The Vanished (Saban)

7. The Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner Bros.)

8. Trolls World Tour (Universal)

9. The Rogue (Archstone)

10. The Silencing (XYZ)


Google Play

Ranked by number of transactions, with the daily position as of Tuesday, September 8

1. The 2nd (Momentum) – $5.99

2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount) – $4.99

3. Trolls World Tour (Universal) – $5.99

4. The King of Staten Island (Universal) – $5.99

5. Bill & Ted Face the Music (United Artists) – $19.99

6. The Tax Collector (RLJE) – $6.99

7. The Silencing (XYZ) – $6.99

8. 42 (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

9. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Trilogy (3 films) – $34.99

10. Guest House (Lionsgate) – $5.99


Netflix Movies

Most-viewed, current ranking as of Tuesday, September 8

1. Love Guaranteed (2020 Netflix original)

2. Due Date (2010 theatrical release)

3. The Smurfs (2011 theatrical release)

4. Anaconda (1997 theatrical release)

5. Puss in Boots (2011 theatrical release)

6. Freaks: You’re One of Us (2020 German Netflix original)

7. Boss Baby: Get That Baby (2020 animated Netflix first run short)

8. Adrift (2020 theatrical release)

9. I’m Thinking of Ending It All (2020 Netflix original)

10. Red Dragon (2002 theatrical release)

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