Variety posted an article just the other night around the success of Black Widow on Premium Access/On-demand for Disney Plus.
Making reference to the apparent $60 min gross the streaming service made for the House of Mouse over the launch weekend for Black Widow in people’s homes which Disney announced to the world.
Now streaming platforms very rarely if ever release actual data or figures, instead, they will proclaim something along the lines of ‘our biggest ever streaming hit’ we never really get the details.
Variety alludes that they believe this was actually a rarity for Disney and more something to cover over the box office gross.
Of which some analysts widely tipped for $100m on launch weekend, to make a bigger headline.
They could add box office + streaming revenue to make a gigantic number. Which was over $200m as the figures looked Monday evening across Disney+, domestic and worldwide gross.
But the article’s title indicates something more interesting.
If one film from Disney can generate $60m in purchases on its opening weekend from home, does this put pressure on other studios, other platforms to do the same?
Surely shareholders in these companies will want some of this pie?
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Netflix, really the founding father of the current streaming services on offer, infamously turned away by Blockbuster Video (and we all know what happened there) it really has set the standard on streaming services.
For many of us, it was the first real platform we used, and it was amazing a wealth of old TV/Films to watch, new releases and original content such as House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, which was highly rated and award winners.
It broke the norm, no longer would you wait a week on week for a new episode, with Netflix sometimes some series would all drop onto the platform and you could binge the whole set in a few days.
Or if like me when a student, a whole series in a day…
But Netflix has faced stiff competition with HBO Max launching Warner Brothers theatrical releases on the same day on their platform as part of the package.
Disney Plus launching almost two years ago, with its historic back catalogue, millions of hours of content from the past, not to mention new releases became a rival before it even launched.
Most kids will have grown up with their animated classics, and not only did they add these films, they also brought Marvel, Star Wars and 20th Century Fox movies and shows across.
Including iconic animated series such as The Simpsons. And… their own original content which has really kicked into gear with Marvel, Loki and Wandavision in 2021.
As a result, content has also found its way of Netflix as these complex streaming services begin to hold onto certain content for their own platforms.
Amazon Prime, which comes alongside any prime membership has also made huge waves, and whilst the overall platform is still archaic at best to navigate and heavily mixed with free and paid-for content, they also recently just purchased MGM Studios for $8 billion in cash.
Can they compete by looking at on-demand purchases? Probably not.
Netflix has built its subscriber base and revenues upon an easy-to-use service with films and tv for a low price. If they started to change that (which some may say they’ll have to eventually) they will lose a lot of those subscribers.
Looking ahead at Netflix exclusive films coming out over the next few years, there’s nothing really, we could see someone paying $30/£27 for at home.
Perhaps only the star-studded Knives Out Franchise which they snapped up earlier this year would have potential, and we expect a theatrical release already for these movies to begin with.
Will Universal, Warners or Paramount be looking over at Disney with an evil eye?
Can anyone really compete?
With the HBO Max/Warners deal last year being confirmed for only running for 12 months due to the pandemic, the chances of them continuing in some form with a premium on-demand are high.
Certainly, films in the DC Universe, The Wizarding World would have the potential to do well, but similar to Netflix, at the moment the price for HBO Max and a guaranteed cinema film that month is a great deal. But will subscribers stay when this goes?
Similarly, with Universal, do they have strong enough films that could generate anywhere near the $60m in an opening weekend at home?
The studio already inked deals last year to drastically reduce the theatrical window before they would offer the releases elsewhere, so it’s not really possible that they’ll make any immediate moves.
They do have some strong franchises to play with though from Jurassic Park to Fast & Furious later down the line.
Disney is the dominant studio
But… let’s look at the top-grossing films which lead with Avatar, Avengers: Endgame, Titanic, Star Wars: Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World, The Lion King, The Avengers, Furious 7, Frozen II.
Take a look at how many were released by Disney or are now owned by Disney. Eight out of 10.
Eight films out of the top 10 grossing are now with the House of Mouse. They also own 8 from 11-20.
Three are owned in the top 20 by Universal and 1 is owned by Warner Brothers. If we were to cater to Franchises only and look via The Numbers.
Disney leads the way once again Marvel, Star Wars, with 7 franchises either owned or released by them as of 2021.
Notable competitors include James Bond, Batman, Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings.
Nobody can match the power of Disney and its potential reach; will everybody want to follow suit? Maybe.
Do they have the franchises and the slates ahead to generate the same money with a Premium video release?
For the most part probably not.
What do you think?
Did or would pay to watch blockbusters at home?
Are there films out there that would make millions on demand?
Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
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