One Half of Bennifer Thrived This Weekend as the Other Half Flopped

Jennifer Lopez's "The Mother" and Ben Affleck's "Hypnotic" share similar plots. One flopped in theaters, the other is #1 on Netflix.
THE MOTHER, Jennifer Lopez, 2023. ph: Ana Carballosa / © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection
"The Mother"
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

Just before “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Universal) arrives on PVOD May 16 (an unusually long 41 days after theatrical release), three films — two are new releases — ranked #1 this week.

May 12 saw the debut of two movies with similar plots. In “The Mother,” Jennifer Lopez is a retired government agent who rescues the daughter she gave up for adoption years before, while “Hypnotic” stars Ben Affleck as a cop trying to find his missing daughter. There the resemblance ends: “The Mother” is #1 at Netflix, while Robert Rodriguez’s $70 million “Hypnotic” opened in theaters to disastrous results.

The difference doesn’t lie with the couple’s respective star power, and both films draw on the same “Taken” template. However, “The Mother” seems fresher with Lopez in the Liam Neeson/Gerard Butler role and it’s a streaming original — a platform that makes it easier to attract viewers with a familiar name.

Affleck remains a viable draw. “Air,” which he also directed, passed $60 million in domestic box office, the high end for a non-franchise title. It streamed on Amazon Prime this weekend (exclusively, after skipping PVOD). Amazon will sometimes release initial results from these debuts, at this writing, it has not.

Expect “SMB” and “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) to dominate in the weeks ahead. For now, “Evil Dead Rise” (Warner Bros. Discovery) and “The Covenant” (Lionsgate), both available after only three weekends in theaters, and “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (Paramount), took the top spots at iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu respectively.

The early release of “Evil Dead Rise” and “The Covenant” is curious. Although WBD did similar for “House Party” and “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” neither saw the success of its New Line horror sequel. However, all three films were initially slated for direct-to-HBO Max play. Its DCU title “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” also transitioned to PVOD after 21 days.

“The Covenant”MGM / STX Films

The strong showing for “The Covenant” (in a competitive week, it’s also #3 at Vudu) is testimony again to the strong appeal of war-themed titles. Though it only grossed $16 million in theaters, it holds its own against bigger releases. The earlier date may also reflect Lionsgate wanting to avoid competition with the upcoming “John Wick 4.”

“Evil” and “Covenant” both cost $19.99 to rent, while “D&D,” available now for a few weeks, can be downloaded for that price. Only two titles, Universal’s “Cocaine Bear” and “Knock at the Cabin,” can be rented at $5.99.

Other films on all three charts are second-week releases “Renfield” (Universal) and “The Pope’s Exorcist” (Sony), both on PVOD after three weekends, and the longer-running “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (both Disney).

“The Mother” (directed by Niki Caro, best known for “Whale Rider”) is the sole Netflix original on the top 10. It displaced the very successful “A Man Called Otto,” which is still #2.

Two debuting features were limited theatrical foreign-language releases later acquired by the streamer. “¡Que viva México!,” a Spanish-language political satire, is a Sony production starring Damián Alcázar in a controversial comedy about a family fighting over an inheritance, which “Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway,” is a Hindi-language drama about an immigrant mother’s struggle to retain custody of her children.

iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for Monday, May 15. Distributors listed are current rights owners. Prices for all titles are for rental.


1. The Covenant (Lionsgate) – $19.99

2. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount) – $19.99

3. Evil Dead Rise (WBD) – $19.99

4. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) – $19.99

5. The Pope’s Exorcist (Sony) – $19.99

6. Cocaine Bear (Univeral) – $5.99

7. Renfield (Universal) – $19.99

8. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) – $19.99

9. Knock at the Cabin (Universal) – $5.99

10. Creed III (MGM) – $19.99

Google Play

1. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount) – $19.99

2. Evil Dead Rise (WBD) – $19.99

3. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) – $19.99

4. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) – $19.99

5. The Covenant (Lionsgate) – $19.99

6. Renfield (Universal) – $19.99

7. The Pope’s Exorcist (Sony) – $19.99

8. Shazam! Fury of the Gods (WBD) – $19.99

9. 65 (Sony) – $19.99

10. Creed III (MGM) – $19.99


Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, elevating premium VOD titles. This list covers May 8-14. 

1. Evil Dead Rise (WBD) – $19.99

2. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount) – $19.99

3. The Covenant (Lionsgate) – $19.99

4. Renfield (Universal) – $19.99

5. The Pope’s Exorcist (Sony) – $19.99

6. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) – $19.99

7. Shazam! Fury of the Gods (WBD) – $19.99

8. Creed III (MGM) – $19.99

9. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) – $19.99

10. Knock at the Cabin (Universal) – $5.99

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily chart on Monday, May 15. 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. The Mother (Netflix original)

2. A Man Called Otto (2022 theatrical release)

3. ¡Que viva México! (2023 theatrical release)

4. Ugly Dolls (2019 theatrical release)

5. The Croods (2013 theatrical release)

6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013 theatrical release)

7. Heat (1995 theatrical release)

8. Pitch Perfect (2012 theatrical release)

9. Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway (2023 theatrical release)

10. Sing 2 (2021 theatrical release)

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