Life is good, but it can be better! Warner Bros. is now able to claim a major victory for its controversial plan to release major 2021 tentpoles in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time. According to Nielsen, Wonder Woman 1984 — aka the first big budget project to test out the bold new strategy — attracted millions upon millions of audience members in its opening weekend and cemented itself as "the biggest feature film in Nielsen's rankings," writes The Hollywood Reporter.
It should be noted that the company hasn't always analyzed streaming metrics, which means there could potentially be a bigger streaming fish out there, but the DC blockbuster's knockout viewership performance has certainly set a new benchmark for Nielsen's pool of online data.
That massive milestone is 2.25 billion minutes (or "14.9 million complete plays") spent watching the movie between the week of Dec. 21 - 27. Gal Gadot's cinematic return as Diana Prince also nabbed 580 million more viewing minutes than Pixar's Soul, which also premiered on streaming over the Christmas holiday weekend. The other notable genre streams for that week were The Midnight Sky (Netflix), 1.11 billion; The Mandalorian (Disney+), 1.02 billion; How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Netflix), 705 million, and The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (Netflix), 660 million.
"The impact of Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max cannot be understated," HBO Max executive VP and general manager Andy Forssell reportedly said during an earnings call earlier this week. "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."
Per WarnerMedia, WW84 was streamed by almost half of all HBO Max users across the opening weekend in late December. In addition a subsequent audience survey found that the comic book adaptation had the biggest debut of any SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) release in 2020. While the sequel vacated HBO Max last weekend, it's still playing in theaters around the world. To date, Wonder Woman 1984 has made almost $150 million at the global box office.
That's nowhere near pre-pandemic figures, but Warner Bros. was pleased enough with the film's opening to green-light a third entry in the Wonder Woman franchise. That said, WW84 was not as well-received as its predecessor and currently holds a 60 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — more than 30 points lower than the first movie's 93 percent score.
Less than a year after its launch, HBO Max is already closing in on 140 million subscribers. That number is sure to grow with such highly-anticipated releases as Godzilla vs. Kong, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Dune, and The Matrix 4 just on the horizon.