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State of the Screens

Winners And Losers Of Direct-To-Streaming Movies

By February 5, 2021No Comments

Hollywood Reporter Theatres 2021

Big news: Two major theatrical movies premiered on streaming over Christmas and took the top two spots for streaming minutes.

Top movies/shows on streaming over Christmas week (12/21 – 12/27) by minutes viewed according to Nielsen:
1) Wonder Woman 1984 (HBO Max) – 2.3B
2) Soul (Disney+) – 1.7B
3) The Office (Netflix) – 1.7B
4) Bridgerton (Netflix) – 1.7B
5) The Midnight Sky (Netflix) – 1.7B

Quick math on Wonder Woman 1984 streaming:
1) 2.3B minutes of viewing
2) 151 minute run time
3) ≈15M complete plays

Why this matters: Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul’s success is a bright spot in a year that saw box office revenue reach a 40-year low (adjusted for inflation).

U.S. movie ticket revenue (YoY growth) according to Box Office Mojo + The Numbers:
1) 2010 – $10.6B
2) 2011 – $10.2B (↓ 4%)
3) 2012 – $10.8B (↑ 7%)
4) 2013 – $10.9B (↑ 1%)
5) 2014 – $10.4B (↓ 5%)
6) 2015 – $11.1B (↑ 7%)
7) 2016 – $11.4B (↑ 2%)
8) 2017 – $11.1B (↓ 3%)
9) 2018 – $11.9B (↑ 7%)
10) 2019 – $11.3B (↓ 5%)
11) 2020 – $2.1B (↓ 82%)

Opening weekend comparison for U.S. ticket revenue according to Bloomberg:
1) Wonder Woman (2017) – $103M
2) Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – $17M

Flashback: No Theaters, No Problem? Disney Will Release First Blockbuster Direct To Consumers

Big question: How do direct-to-streaming releases impact the economics of movie stars/directors?

Quick answer: Substantially. For decades, movie stars/directors have generated income from both salary and profit-sharing. The problem with using tentpole releases to drive streaming subscriptions is that no specific profit can be tied to a particular movie.

Quick math on profit sharing for Avengers: Endgame:
1) Total gross for the film – $2B
2) Total profit for Disney – $900M
3) Profit sharing % for Robert Downey Jr. (RD) – 2.5%
4) Profit sharing $ for RD – $22.5M
5) Guaranteed salary for RD – $52.5M
6) Total compensation for RD – $75.0M

Top movies on streaming in 2020 by minutes viewed according to Nielsen:
1) Frozen II (Disney+) – 14.9B
2) Moana (Disney+) – 10.5B
3) Secret Life of Pets 2 (Netflix) – 9.1B
4) Onward (Disney+) – 8.4B
5) Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (Netflix) – 6.2B

Top Streaming Movies 2020

More #1: 2020’s Big Plot Twist: How ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Came to Upend Hollywood’s Future

More #2: Why Video on Demand Data Won’t Be Public Any Time Soon

More #3: Movie Equations: Soul’s win in China

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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