The Summer (Non-Genre) Doldrums Plus An Update on Ms. Marvel!

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For those of you who are sick of superheroes and sci-fi TV series, you got a brief reprieve this week, as the big new TV shows and movies didn’t have anyone wearing a cape. (But it’s only a one-week break, since The Umbrella Academy comes out next week.)

Unfortunately, there’s a reason studios invest so much money in big budget “genre” series; just look at how Stranger Things continues to dominate.

But first, let’s talk about the two biggest film releases for the week of 13-June.

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. market and compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, TV Time trend data, company datecdotes, and Netflix hours viewed data, Netflix Top Ten lists, Google Trends, Samba TV, and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of June 13th to June 19th.)

Film – The Biggest Streaming Releases of the Week…

On Thursday 16-June, HBO Max released their reboot of Father of The Bride straight-to-streaming. And they were happy to tell us that it did well!

As you can see, this has all the caveats we’ve come to expect from “datecdotes” like this: it doesn’t include any films that had gone into theaters before going to HBO Max. So let me ask you, what is the biggest HBO Max Original (that didn’t go into theaters) that you can think of?

I’ll wait.

Fine, here’s the list of films in my dataset that qualify, in release order:

Not exactly a murderer’s row of content, but partially that’s to be expected since Warner Bros. Discovery has said they’ll save their best stuff for theaters. In other words, this is a good showing for HBO Max, albeit one with a (theatrical-sized) asterisk. Still HBO Max put their first “Max Original” onto the Nielsen film charts this week:

Is 4.6 million hours good? For all straight-to-streaming films, no. That’s 116th place out of a whopping 201 films in my data set, or 58th percentile among films we have data for.

(Bonus data wonk note: we just officially unofficially passed 200 data points among films released in the first run, Pay 1 or early windows. I’m now much more confident judging whether these launches are good or bad now with 200 data points.)

As I wrote in my last report, comparing usage, HBO Max is about 15% the size of Netflix. In that context, if HBO Max can release a film and earn 25% of Hustle’s opening week of viewership, that isn’t bad. I would add, I assume that the vast majority of Warner Bros. day-and-date films releases in 2021 (titles like Godzilla vs Kong and Dune) probably beat Father of the Bride, meaning for the last year there are probably a lot of HBO Max titles that should have been on the Nielsen rankings.

Of course, 4.6 million hours is obviously less than 8.1 million hours, which is what Spiderhead over at Netflix got. As I wrote in The Ankler this week—echoing a point a few people made—the lack of marketing for this title is…odd:

Just look at a film like Spiderhead, which reportedly cost $100 million to make. Even in May, no one knew that a very expensive movie — starring Thor and Goose’s son (!) and directed by the guy who helmed Top Gun: Maverick — was coming out. The trailer wasn’t released on YouTube until May 17th, just a few weeks before it debuted on Netflix.

Maybe Netflix deliberately tried to bury it, because right now it only has a 5.4 on IMDb on 39K reviews. Not great. According to Samba TV, it only had 1.7 million households watch in its first 5 days, which is on the low end for Netflix films. In contrast, Hustle had 2.7 million households watch in the same time period. For a projected $100 million dollar budget with top tier talent, releasing a film which ranks 61st place out of 201 entries isn’t great. (Roughly 30th percentile.) But could it be worse? Sure…

…Onto The Biggest Streaming Film Misses

I don’t think either Spiderhead or Father of the Bride was a “hit”, but at least they made the Nielsen film rankings. These three straight-to-streaming films did not:

– Hulu’s Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
– Paramount+’s Jerry and Marge Go Large
– Apple TV+’s Cha Cha Real Smooth

All three were released on Friday 17-June. Normally, I’d take these films and just put them in the “dogs not barking” section of the report and move on. (Here’s a fun bonus: On my website, I published an explainer of the term “Dogs Not Barking”. I try to limit how many times I hit your inbox to two per week, so head over to my website to read.) In this case, though, Samba TV came through and provided these three films with household viewership numbers:

The natural question is…is 291K households good? (Because we intuitively know that 85,000 households is not, right?)

Well, here’s the top films, through L+3 to L+6 days, compared to these three films:

The rest of this post is for paid subscribers of the Streaming Ratings Report, so if you want to see this chart, find out how Ms. Marvel did on streaming, discover whether Love, Victor and The Summer I Turned Pretty are hits, learn about another expensive miss for a buzzy streamer, and more, please subscribe

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The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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