A unique Hollywood competition, the first of its kind, played out over Christmas weekend. Warner Bros made Wonder Woman 1984 available on HBO Max for one month starting December 25, and Disney+ released the latest Pixar movie, Soul, at the same time. Though it was possible to watch Wonder Woman in theaters (and it performed rather well there, at least by post-COVID standards), the real eyeballs were on the streaming numbers. Never before had two high-profile cinematic releases been pitted against each other over home wifi. Who won the digital box office — Disney or Warner Bros?
Depends on who you ask. As of now, two competing studies say two different things. If you ask research firm Screen Engine, the winner was Wonder Woman. THR reported their findings: not only did WW84 beat out Soul in streaming numbers, it broke the previous record set by the Disney+ release of Hamilton. Screen Engine also states that 23% of people who subscribed to HBO Max recently did so just to see WW84, and only 9% plan to unsubscribe afterward (though the number of people who plan to keep it is at 14%, so….what did the other 77% say?)
Another study, reported by Bloomberg, states that Soul won based on the number of app downloads over the Christmas weekend. Disney+ had 2.3 million global installs over the period, while HBO Max had just 554,000. It’s worth noting HBO Max is not available outside of the US yet, so they really had no chance of winning a global user count.
The problem here is that currently, there’s no independent Nielsen-style ratings board keeping track of these things. Since the streamers don’t have advertisers to answer to (yet), the only source of hard data usually comes from press releases they put out themselves, which are of course questionable in their accuracy. Bloomberg counted downloads and Screen Engine conducted an informal survey. So as for the question posed by the title…who really knows?