Disney PR Leaks that Doctor Who Flopped, Plus Who Won, Atlas vs. Dune: Part Two?

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(Welcome to my weekly streaming ratings report, the single best guide to what’s popular in streaming TV and what isn’t. I’m the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a former streaming executive who now analyzes business strategy in the entertainment industry. If you were forwarded this email, please subscribe to get these insights each week.)

Well, the Inside Out 2 train keeps rolling. After the best weekend of the year, it continued with a huge Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the middle of this week ($22 million, $28 million and $30 million in domestic box office respectively). This got me wondering…

…will Inside Out 2 be the biggest debut on streaming this year?

As a reminder, last year, I asked my incredibly smart audience this same question about The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and here’s what they said:

For the record, Mario was the biggest film on Netflix that came to streaming in 2023, according to time spent in the Nielsen top ten charts. (Technically, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had the biggest opening in terms of total hours in its debut week. Leave the World Behind, had the biggest debut in its first four weeks.) Disney has shown the capability to launch big films, so this question feels relevant again.

(Go here to vote!)

Speaking of theatrical launches, this week provides another fun peak into the 1. Struggles of straight-to-streaming films recently and 2. The ability for theaters to boost the prospects for streaming launches. I speak of Dune: Part Two the second biggest film of the year at the domestic box office compared to Atlas, the Jennifer Lopez sci-fi adventure film on Netflix. We’ll compare those two titles, plus look at a few smaller shows on streaming, like Tires, a Shane Gillis sitcom on Netflix, Evil, a procedural on Paramount+ and Trying on Apple TV+, along with a whole lot more.

But let’s get started with a misleading datecdote…

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. market and compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Luminate’s Top Ten Data, Showlabs, TV Time trend data, Samba TV household viewership, company datecdotes, and Netflix hours viewed data, Google Trends, and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of May 20th to May 26th.)

Datecdote of the Week – Disney PR Leaks That Doctor Who Flopped Globally

Let me assure you, Disney PR didn’t intentionally mean to leak that Disney’s big bet on Doctor Who’s overseas rights didn’t pay off. As a reminder, in 2022, Disney grabbed global rights for Doctor Who and those rights weren’t cheap. As I wrote a few weeks ago, “Reportedly, Disney’s investment allowed the BBC to up the budget for the latest season, something the showrunner boasted on a podcast.”

Instead, Disney was trying to use datecdotes to win the daily PR war, and—while bragging about another show—unintentionally revealed more than they intended.

Remember, streaming companies have literally thousands of data points at their disposal. They can cut the data by time period, location, content type, metric measured or run time. Among dozens of ways to describe a TV show’s performance, they pick the best one. Often times, the streaming viewership figures tell a different story. (For example, recently Amazon released a big datecdote about The Idea of You, and that led a lot of people to think it was a big hit. The data didn’t back that up.)

A few weeks ago, Disney PR leaked to an industry trade that the latest season of Hulu’s The Kardashians was their “best unscripted premiere this year” at 3.9 million viewers in its first four days, and the reporter wrote, “The Kardashians is back and, it appears, better than ever.” without providing numbers for past seasons.

Here’s my list of Disney+ datecdotes that we know of:

(Eagle-eyed readers will remember from last week’s issue that X-Men ‘97 had 4 million viewers…in five days. Why didn’t the PR team keep the number of days the same? That type of twisting of the numbers makes me suspicious.)

But here’s the weirdest thing: that 3.9 million number isn’t good. It’s low, especially since Disney/Hulu reportedly gave The Kardashians a nine figure payday to pry them away from the E! Channel. I’ve mentioned previous Kardashians datecdotes when covering this show before, and they usually show up when the series hasn’t made any of the viewership charts I track.

Here’s the even weirder thing: the PR team leaked that The Kardashians had the second best premiere this year for any Disney streaming show, behind Shōgun.

But Disney has released other TV shows this year! By logic/process of elimination, none of those other shows could have done over 3.9 million hours in four days. Including Doctor Who. Given how much Disney has promoted Doctor Who and likely how much it paid (see the quote above!), that makes the miss of Doctor Who—a dog not barking this year so far in America—even greater. (Disney did provide an The Acolyte datecdote, and we’ll cover than in a few weeks.)

By process of elimination, we can also assume that Echo, The Veil, Life & Beth, Shardlake and Vanderpump Villa all had under 4 million views in their first four days streaming. That’s bad.

Instead of revealing how well The Kardashians did, it shows that Disney’s streaming services are having a really, really rough 2024; only one show was able to get over 4 million views, globally, in four days this year. That’s not great.


Film – Dune: Part Two versus Atlas and the Theatrical Debate

One of the things about covering streaming (versus covering theaters) is that countless media outlets cover movie theaters extensively, but streaming slides under the radar, something I just dubbed “The Argylle Treatment”. For example, have you heard that theaters had a “miserable” May? You have. I wrote about it. So did everyone else in town.

Have you heard that streaming films did worse? Probably not, unless you’re reading this report!

That’s a longer topic for a longer article (coming soon!) but today we’ll focus on just two of those films.

On the one side, you have Dune: Part Two, which grossed $282 million domestically and over $700 million globally. (If you can remember back to March, back then folks thought we might see a big theatrical rebound, but the supply definitely petered out.) In its first week on streaming, according to Nielsen, Dune: Part Two got 11.9 million hours, but it came out on a Tuesday, so you can’t quite be compare it to most streaming films, which come out on Fridays. It also has a whopping 166 minute runtime, which helps it on the total hours viewed measures.

Here’s how it compares to other Max titles:


We’re just getting started with this issue, but the rest is for paid subscribers of the Entertainment Strategy Guy, so if you’d like to find out…

How Dune: Part Two compares to Netflix’s Atlas….

– Madame Web’s surprisingly good second week numbers…

– Two award-contending shows finally make the charts this week…

– Which TV show lasted longer, Fallout or Baby Reindeer…

– Whether or not Tires is a hit…

– Which film won the documentary show down, The Blue Angels or The Beach Boys

– All the flops, bombs and misses for the week (and there were a lot of TV shows that came out)…

– 26 more charts, graphs and tables…

– And a lot more…

please subscribe! We can only keep doing this great work with your support. If you’d like to read more about why you should subscribe, please read these posts about the Streaming Ratings Report, why it matters, why you need it, and why we cover streaming ratings best.

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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