‘Dune,’ ‘The Power of the Dog,’ and ‘The Last Duel’ Find Strength in Home Audiences

·5 min read

After a single week as undisputed Premium VOD champion, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (Sony/$19.99) had company this week with “The Last Duel” (Disney/$19.99) and “Dune” (Warner Bros./$24.99). “Carnage” retained the top spot at Google Play and Vudu, while “The Last Duel” was #1 at Apple TV/iTunes. “Dune” took two #2 spots among its placements.

The two new releases took very different theatrical routes. After Ridley Scott’s medieval combat drama starring Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, and Adam Driver failed to make much impact in theaters, Disney waited six weeks. The film’s star power, director, and violent premise may have generated home-viewing interest.

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“Dune” took a different course. This weekend it was still in the theatrical top 10 (a return to IMAX screens provided a boost). It spent its first 31 days also on HBO Max. It debuted on PVOD, pricing it at $24.99 rather than the standard $19.99. That didn’t seem to deter viewership any more than its earlier availability on the streamer for free to subscribers. Both “Carnage” and “No Time to Die” (United Artists/$19.99) stayed with the standard rental cost despite both films being much bigger in theaters. (“Dune” is available to buy for $29.99.)

At Netflix, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” placed #1 on its first day and has stayed there since, including the weekend hours in which the streamer sees its heaviest viewing. Although not exactly the same as box office top-10 lists, this chart reflects a mass audience for Campion’s lauded film. If this film had been made for a large-scale theatrical release in a pre-COVID environment, it is inconceivable that it would have ever reached #1.

It’s an impressive initial achievement. Very few of Netflix’s awards-contending films fly this high on their list. Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” had a few days at the top; Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” even less. Few titles last more than a week at most and Campion’s film is now in its sixth day.

“The Power of the Dog” - Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix
“The Power of the Dog” - Credit: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

Netflix has never won an Oscar for Picture or leading acting performances, but Campion’s film boasts contenders for both, as well as supporting actor and a variety of crafts. Whether any of this translates into the perception of popular approval needed to supercharge a contender remains unclear. In the meantime, the film — likely for reasons that include its Western setting and the promise of raw drama along with Campion’s reputation and strong reviews — has superseded the chart performance of the streamer’s 2021 Oscar contenders like “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “The Trial of the Chicago Seven,” and “Mank.”

Long-running titles “No Time to Die,” “Free Guy” (Disney/$5.99), and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Disney/$5.99) joined “Carnage” and “Dune” on all three charts, along with continued high interest in “The Grinch” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (both Universal/$3.99).

One new release that so far has failed to reach the top 10 is “Belfast” (Focus/$19.99). Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white Northern Ireland coming-of-age story got a post-three weekend PVOD release, as normal for Focus (and which explains its non-platform release). It placed in the top 20 at Apple TV/iTunes, and can be expected to have a longer-than-usual shelf life, but it suffers from a much different awards calendar. Normally, this timing would parallel SAG and Golden Globe nominations, where it likely would have done well. So far, it hasn’t the received expected citations; that can impact performance in theaters as well as at home.

In its second week, “Spencer” (Neon/$19.99) remains on two charts. It has grossed a little more in theaters than “Belfast,” but its higher interest most likely comes from its subject (Princess Diana) and star (Kristen Stewart). For both films, with a lower financial investment from distributors, steady ongoing interest means more than initial placement.

“Single All The Way” - Credit: Philippe Bosse/Netflix
“Single All The Way” - Credit: Philippe Bosse/Netflix

Philippe Bosse/Netflix

Despite being closer to December 25, fewer seasonal films dominate the Netflix top 10. The surprising #2 choice is “Single All the Way” from Tony-award winning director Michael Mayer (whose film credits include “A Home at the End of World”). A gay variation on the awkwardness of dealing with a partner-less holiday and family, it clearly has found mainstream appeal and that makes a statement in itself.

Apple TV/iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions, irrespective of revenue accrued. These are the listings for December 6. Distributors listed are current rights owners.

Apple TV/iTunes

1. The Last Duel (Disney) – $19.99

2. Dune (Warner Bros.) – $24.99

3. Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) – $19.99

4. No Time to Die (United Artists) – $19.99

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal) – $3.99

6. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

7. Free Guy (Disney) – $5.99

8. Spencer (Neon) – $19.99

9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney) – $5.99

10. Elf (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

Google Play

1. Venom: Let There Will Be Carnage (Sony) – $19.99

2. Free Guy (Disney) – $5.99

3. No Time to Die (United Artists) – $19.99

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney) – $5.99

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal) – $3.99

6. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

7. Dune (Warner Bros.) – $24.99

8. The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

9. F9 (Universal) – $5.99

10. Old (Universal) – $5.99

Vudu

Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, which elevates Premium VOD titles. This list covers November 29 – December 5

1. Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) – $19.99

2. Dune (Universal) – $24.99

3. The Last Duel (Disney) – $19.99

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal) – $3.99

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney) – $19.99

6. No Time to Die (United Artists) – $19.99

7. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

8. Free Guy (Disney) – $5.99

9. Elf (Warner Bros.) – $3.99

10. The Addams Family 2 (United Artists) – $19.99

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking as of Monday, December 6; originals include both Netflix-produced and -acquired titles they initially presented in the U.S.

1. The Power of the Dog (2021 Netflix original)

2. Single All the Way (2021 Netflix original)

3. Life (1999 theatrical release)

4. Red Notice (2021 Netflix original)

5. Looper (2012 theatrical release)

6. A Boy Called Christmas (2021 Netflix original)

7. A Castle for Christmas (2021 Netflix original)

8. Law Abiding Citizen (2009 theatrical release)

9. Bruised (2021 Netflix original)

10. Final Destination 5 (2011 theatrical release)

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