Wonder Woman 1984: Streaming vs theatrical release gets first big test

This previous weekend supplied the first actual test for the way blockbuster motion pictures carry out on streaming providers once they're launched in film theaters on the identical time.

AT&T's WarnerMedia premiered "Wonder Woman 1984" on Christmas Day, the first film in its experiment to release its movies concurrently in theaters and on HBO Max. The consequence? "Wonder Woman 1984" set a pandemic theatrical release report with $16.7 million in field workplace gross sales within the U.S. and Canada.

The streaming figures have been a bit fuzzier.

WarnerMedia didn't present exact numbers, saying solely that just about half of its HBO Max retail subscribers streamed the film on Christmas Day. That makes it troublesome to find out precisely how many individuals watched "Wonder Woman 1984" at dwelling since HBO Max's retail subscribers solely account for the small fraction of people that subscribed to the service instantly as a substitute of by means of their cable supplier. (Many cable suppliers provides you with entry to HBO Max if you have already got a "regular" HBO subscription.)

So was WarnerMedia's experiment profitable? That's powerful to say definitively. It's a pattern measurement of 1 film, and we're pressured to work with restricted information from the corporate. But on the very least, now we have some good proof that there's loads of pent-up demand for popcorn flicks.

Let's break down what this all means:

WarnerMedia was cautious to not disclose an excessive amount of about how "Wonder Woman 1984" carried out on streaming.

When the corporate made its daring announcement earlier this month, administrators and producers within the trade instantly pushed again. Patty Jenkins, who directed each "Wonder Woman" motion pictures, implied in an interview with The New York Times that she wouldn't direct a 3rd installment and not using a assure that it’ll launch in theaters. (Jenkins apparently acquired what she wished, and WarnerMedia introduced Sunday that she'll write and direct the third movie within the sequence.)

By retaining the streaming numbers fuzzy, WarnerMedia was capable of concurrently tout the facility of HBO Max, whereas bragging that it had probably the most profitable theatrical release of the pandemic. That ought to maintain filmmakers considerably blissful that the corporate isn't utterly giving up on theatrical releases post-pandemic.

Millions extra doubtless watched "Wonder Woman 1984" at dwelling than in theaters.

The final "retail subscriber" rely now we have for HBO Max is 3.6 million as of October. In whole, HBO Max has 12.6 million subscribers as of early December. So despite the fact that WarnerMedia mentioned solely half of these retail subscribers watched on Christmas Day, there are thousands and thousands extra households who doubtless streamed the film on prime of that.

Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed, mentioned on Twitter that "Wonder Woman 1984" was doubtless seen by extra folks within the U.S. than the first film, which was launched in theaters in 2017. That's assuming the typical family had a number of folks watching collectively.

There's pent-up demand to go to the theater.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, the "Wonder Woman 1984" theatrical release proved there was nonetheless a starvation for folks to return to theaters to see a significant superhero film. That ought to delight theater chains like AMC as they put together for a post-pandemic schedule later in 2021. The gross sales figures WarnerMedia launched over the weekend paled compared to what they might've been in regular instances, however nonetheless proved folks will present up when and the place it's secure to take action.

We don't understand how one other main Christmas Day release, Disney and Pixar's "Soul," carried out.

Don't sleep on the opposite main film release over Christmas weekend.

Disney additionally launched its latest Pixar animated film "Soul" on Disney+ on Christmas Day. The movie was initially speculated to launch in theaters, but it surely shifted to Disney+ as a substitute. This is all a part of Disney's hybrid release technique because it balances its worthwhile theatrical releases from franchises like Marvel and Star Wars with the stress to continue to grow its streaming enterprise. (Disney+'s progress and upcoming slate of content material has excited traders greater than the rest, pushing the inventory to all-time highs.)

Disney hasn't launched any information on how "Soul" carried out over the weekend, and we'll doubtless by no means know. The firm examined a straight-to-streaming release with "Mulan" early this yr, which Disney+ subscribers might look ahead to a one-time $30 price. It by no means mentioned how many individuals paid up. So far, Disney has been capable of appease filmmakers with its focused release technique significantly better than WarnerMedia has.

Variety: Going to see how prepared individuals are to exit to theaters once they can simply watch at homeWorldwide Exchange

primarily based on web site supplies www.cnbc.com

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