“Wonder Woman 1984” is proving to be the jolt to HBO Max that the streamer was hoping for, as the DC film was by far the highest-streaming film during the week of December 21-27, according to Nielsen.
Upon its release on Christmas Day, “WW84” logged a whopping 2.3 billion minutes of viewing on Nielsen’s streaming charts, beating out fellow holiday release “Soul,” which logged around 1.6 billion minutes on Disney+. While the longer run time for “WW84” was a factor in this disparity — it is 50 minutes longer than the Pixar movie — strong demand for the first major superhero film since the rise of COVID-19 was also a factor, as seen by the fact that “WW84” was also the first film since the start of the pandemic to earn an opening weekend higher than $10 million at the domestic box office.
“Soul” — Pixar’s animated film about a jazz singer whose soul separates from his body after falling down a manhole — was also slated for a summer theatrical release but pushed to streaming. It was available for free to Disney+ subscribers, unlike the live-action “Mulan,” which users had to pay a premium fee for.
“The impact of Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max cannot be understated. As was announced on Wednesday during our earnings and as this Nielsen data shows, it was a huge holiday gift to the consumer at a time when they wanted and needed it. This partnership with Warner Bros. of course continues throughout the year but it began with Wonder Woman’s arrival on Christmas Day to great success,” said Andy Forssell, EVP and General Manager, HBO Max.
Warner Bros. sent shockwaves through Hollywood when it announced that all of its 2021 films would be released in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, in part to avoid moving release dates in an effort to determine when theaters would be able to fully reopen. While the move has forced renegotiations on backend deals with talent and partner studios, the day-and-date strategy is expected to expand HBO Max’s subscriber base with films like “Tom & Jerry,” “In the Heights” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy” coming later this year. Combined with the main HBO service, HBO Max has over 41 million U.S. subscribers.
While “WW84”” and “Soul” led the charts, Netflix held seven of the top 10 most-watched titles for Christmas week, with “The Office” leading at No. 3 with 1.4 billion hours logged. The acclaimed NBC comedy was moved from Netflix this month after years on the streaming service and is now being used as a major selling point for NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Peacock, which has made seasons 3-9 of “The Office” only available to subscribers at $4.99/month, with an ad-free version available for $9.99/month.
Netflix’s new limited series “Bridgerton” was in fourth with 1.2 billion minutes, while the George Clooney film “The Midnight Sky” was in fifth with 1.1 billion minutes. Sitting just outside the top 5 was Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” which released its season finale on December 18 and logged 1.02 billion minutes during Christmas week.