‘Candyman’ Upended at PVOD #1 by Reduced Price ‘F9’ and New Release ‘Escape Room 2’

Make room for "Free Guy" and "Addams Family 2" this week. Meantime, Melissa McCarthy's "The Starling" takes hold of the top spot at Netflix.
ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, (aka ESCPAPE ROOM 2), from left: director Adam Robitel, Logan Miller, Taylor Russell, on set, 2021. ph: David Bloomer / © Sony Pictures Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection
"Escape Room: Tournament of Champions"
Everett Collection

As theaters await “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (Paramount) and “No Time to Die” (United Artists) over the next two weeks, home viewing options are similarly on the rise. “Free Guy” (Disney), honoring a 45-day window, debuts on Premium VOD September 28. Friday sees two theatrical openers: “Addams Family 2” (United Artists) and “The Many Saints of Newark” (Warner Bros.), also available at home (on PVOD for “Addams,” HBO Max for “Newark”).

That left a more routine week on the charts we follow, although some recent releases got attention as they made their first appearances. But price reductions, led by “F9” (Universal), were also important.

The latest entry in the “Fast” series, which opened in domestic theaters in early June, and then at $19.99 on PVOD in late July, just had its price cut to $5.99 (consistent with the timing of past Universal moves). The just-released director’s cut remains at the higher price. The result is a return to #1 at iTunes and Google Play (ranking by number of transactions), #2 at Vudu (impressive since they calculate by revenue, which the lower price reduces). We don’t know how much the studio has accrued from this extensive play. But it clearly adds to their already substantial $173 million domestic/$544 million foreign box office.

Vudu shows horror sequel “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” (Sony) at #1 with the benefit of timing, as no other recent release competes with it. That perhaps explains the, by 2021 standards, relatively long window (two months), which allowed them to get more attention. The availability came just after the release of “Candyman” (Universal), following the normal Universal three-week window.

But the “Escape” response was uneven. It took the lead position at Vudu, again with the benefit of their rankings being calculated by total revenue assessment. But it is only #10 at Google Play, and just below iTunes’ top 10. It seemed, however, to take some of the steam out of “Candyman,” last week’s #1 everywhere. Nia DaCosta’s hit film, still #4 at theaters over the weekend, is at $57 million at those in-person venues. It placed #2 at Google Play, #6 at iTunes, and #3 at Vudu.

“The Protege”

The top performer among other new releases was “The Protege” ($19.99). Lionsgate’s action title elevated by an ensemble including Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton is on all three charts, led by a #2 ranking at iTunes.

“PAW Patrol” (Paramount/$19.99), which the studio’s streamer showed from the beginning of its theatrical run, added PVOD just over a month later as an added platform. It is #3 at iTunes, #4 at Vudu. No other new titles joined the charts this week.

“Black Widow” (Disney/$19.99) was the sole other title to chart everywhere, with #6 or #7 positions. Of interest among other titles, the 2018 “Venom” (Sony, either $2.99 or $3.99) is seeing interest just before its sequel opens this week. iTunes has it at #4, Google Play at #5, and Vudu reports despite its low price it was just below their top ten.

“The Starling,” Melissa McCarthy’s second original film for Netflix this year after “Thunder Force,” raced to #1 its opening weekend. The dramedy from Theodore Melfi, director of the huge hit “Hidden Figures,” who had previously worked with the actress in “St. Vincent,” ratcheted up the creative heft for the streamer. “My Little Pony,” a remake of an earlier animated theatrical release is #2, also original. “Intrusion” with Freida Pinto defending her home from an invader, from director Adam Salky (Sundance 2015’s “I Smile Back”), is at the #4, completing the fresh entries there.

iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions, irrespective of revenue accrued. These are the listings for September 27. Distributors listed are current rights owners.


1. F9 (Universal) – $5.99 ($19.99 for the director’s cut)

2. The Protege (Lionsgate) – $19.99

3. PAW Patrol (Paramount) – $19.99

4. Venom (Sony) – $2.99

5. The Martian (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

6. Candyman (Universal) – $19.99

7. Black Widow (Disney) – $19.99

8. Cruella (Disney) – $5.99

9. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) – $5.99

10. The Unholy (Sony) – $19.99


Google Play

1. F9 (Universal) – $5.99 ($19.99 for the director’s cut)

2. Candyman (Universal) – $19.99

3. The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.) – $24.99

4. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) – $5.99

5. Venom (Sony) – $3.99

6. Black Widow (Disney) – $19.99

7. A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount) – $4.99

8. Spider-Man: Far from Home (Sony) – $3.99

9. The Protege (Lionsgate) – $19.99

10. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (Sony) – $19.99



Vudu ranks by revenue earned, not transactions, which elevates Premium VOD titles. This list covers September 20-26

1. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (Sony) – $19.99

2. F9 (Universal) – $5.99 ($19.99 for the director’s cut)

3. Candyman (Universal) – $19.99

4. PAW Patrol (Paramount) – $19.99

5. The Protege (Lionsgate) – $19.99 

6. The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.) – $24.99

7. Black Widow (Disney) – $19.99

8. Don’t Breathe 2 (Sony) – $19.99

9. Jungle Cruise (Disney) – $29.99

10. The Forever Purge (Universal) – $19.99


"The Starling" Melissa McCarthy Netflix
“The Starling”Netflix


Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking as of Monday, September 27; originals include both Netflix-produced and Netflix-acquired titles they initially presented in the U.S.

1. The Starling (2021 Netflix original)

2. My Little Pony (2021 Netflix animated original)

3. Grown Ups (2010 theatrical release)

4. Intrusion (2021 Netflix original)

5. Safe House (2012 theatrical release)

6. Vivo (2021 Netflix animated original)

7. Kate (2021 Netflix original)

8. Jaws (1975 theatrical release)

9. Home (2016 theatrical release)

10. The Father Who Moved Mountains (2021 Netflix Romanian original)



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