WEEKLY FILM INDUSTRY NEWS DIGEST, SUNDAY JANUARY 31ST
AMC Theatres Shares: What’s Next for Stocks Roiled by Reddit?
AMC’s stock was down more than 50% on Thursday afternoon, one day after it surged more than 300% and skyrocketed to $20.31 per share. Comparatively, AMC’s stock was trading at roughly $4 per share in October. It is currently hovering at $10 and change.
AMC, which was at risk of bankruptcy even before the pandemic, became a target because amateur traders online were looking to influence stocks that were heavily short-sighted, says Eric Wold, an analyst with B. Riley & Co., who also covers AMC Entertainment. However, there was an injection of long-term confidence earlier in the week as AMC announced it secured $917 million in financing, enough to get the struggling cinema chain through the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
"Robinhood investors are a bit of a wildcard,” says Eric Handler, a research analyst at MKM Partners who covers AMC Entertainment. So is this a short-term phenomenon or something sustainable? “Right now, the company’s stock price has been decoupled from financial reality,” he says. “History would suggest over the long term, true financials and historical valuations will matter. It’s just a matter of when.”
‘Wonder Woman 1984’ on HBO Max Blew Away Everything Else Christmas Week, Nielsen Now Says
On Friday, Nielsen said it worked with Warner Media to estimate “Wonder Woman 1984” viewing and — lo and behold — found that the Gal Gadot-starrer overwhelmingly outperformed other content: The movie amassed nearly 2.3 billion minutes viewed among U.S. viewers, about 35% more than “Soul.” The Nielsen figure suggests “Wonder Woman 1984” was viewed on average roughly 14.9 million times, given the movie’s 151-minute runtime (but the measurement firm didn’t divulge estimated number of viewers).
Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings don’t regularly measure HBO Max at this point. The “WW84” estimate is “a one-time view as we work toward introducing the data externally,” a Nielsen rep said.
HBO Max Activations Double In Q4 To 17.2M, Driven By ‘Wonder Woman 1984’AT&T said the number of activated subscriptions to streaming service HBO Max doubled in the fourth quarter to 17.2 million compared with the third quarter, partly due to the release of Wonder Woman 1984. The number of overall domestic subscriptions to both regular HBO and HBO Max reached 41.5 million, which the company said was two years ahead of its initial forecasts and up from 34.6 million in the 2019 quarter. Before the May 2020 debut of HBO Max, AT&T said its five-year goal was to get 50 million total U.S. subscribers, and between 75 million to 90 million globally.
While HBO Max costs $15 a month for direct retail subscribers, existing HBO subscribers are entitled to activate their subscriptions at no extra cost. AT&T struggled in the early going with driving those conversions, especially with rivals launching far cheaper streaming alternatives. The company recently decided to substantially up the ante on streaming service (to the consternation of many in Hollywood) by putting the entire 2021 Warner Bros movie release slate on HBO Max at the same time it hits theaters. WW1984 followed that release pattern on Christmas Day. No data on its performance was shared in the earnings release.
HBO Max, which competes with other emerging services like Disney+, Apple TV+ and Peacock, benefited in the fourth quarter from a distribution deal with Roku, reached in December. A similarly game-changing distribution deal was struck with Amazon in November, finally opening access to the two dominant U.S. streaming providers.
Watch A Warner Bros/HBO Max Sizzle
All the films included in the sizzle reel will open on the same dates in theaters and on HBO Max. Included is footage from Dune, suggesting that the Denis Villeneuve will hit the streamer along with its theatrical release after all.
Apple buys ‘CODA’ in Sundance record $25m worldwide deal
Apple Original Films has taken worldwide rights to CODA in a record Sundance acquisition understood to be in the region $25m that shatters last year’s previous mark of $22.5m paid by Hulu and Neon for Palm Springs.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal Says Peacock Hit 33 Million Signups
NBCU’s streaming service Peacock has hit 33 million signups across the U.S. to date, parent Comcast said Thursday.That’s up from 28 million on Dec. 8 when execs last updated the figure at an investor conference. Peacock launched nationally in July with two tiers. Peacock Premium, $4.99 a month with ads, and Peacock Premium Plus, $9.99 with no ads. Peacock Premium comes free to some Comcast and Cox subscribers.
Home Entertainment Revenue Jumps 21% To Record $30B, Universal Reaps $500M-Plus From PVOD
Cooped-up during the coronavirus pandemic, consumers spent more than $26.5 billion on digital home entertainment in 2020. Including physical discs, the tally reached $30 billion, up 21% from 2019.The annual figures were reported by the Digital Entertainment Group, an industry consortium representing a swath of studios, retailers and tech platforms.
The digital outlay (including rentals, purchases and subscriptions) increased 33% over 2019 and was driven by streaming, with spending on subscriptions rising 37% to $21.2 billion.Premium video on demand (PVOD) was not included in the totals, but the DEG said spending on digital rentals of theatrical film titles grew more than 25% in the fourth quarter and 40% for the year.Transactional video on demand spending rose 18% for the full year, and electronic sell-through (the window used by high-profile releases like Warner Bros’ Tenet) increased 16%.The fourth quarter of the year, traditionally a holiday period when the domestic box office lights up, reflected a pronounced shift to home viewing. Total consumer spending in the quarter climbed nearly 16% to $7.8 billion, up more than $1 billion over the same period in 2019.
Universal, which upended convention last spring with theater-free releases like Trolls World Tour, estimated the 18 films it has put out on PVOD in the past 10 months have brought in more than $500 million in revenue…Universal’s PVOD sales were four times what would have come in via the traditional digital home entertainment window alone, according to the DEG, of which Universal is a member. “Since the launch of PVOD, we’ve learned a tremendous amount, much of which has validated our belief that PVOD is poised to complement the theatrical business in a way that can meaningfully benefit the ecosystem across consumers, distributors and studios,” Universal Pictures Home Entertainment President Michael Bonner said in a press release.
‘Bridgerton’ Smashes Netflix Viewership Records To Become Streamer’s Biggest Series Ever
The Regency-era romance, already renewed for a second season, not just exceeded Netflix’s original viewership projections, it blew them out of the water. The final numbers are in, and Season 1 of Bridgerton was watched by a record 82 million households around the world (partially or in its entirety.) That is a whopping 19M households higher than the four-week projection Netflix issued 10 days into the Shondaland series’ run (63 million), at the time the streamer’s fifth biggest launch in history…Bridgerton was watched by 82M of the record 200M Netflix Q4 2020 subscribers, or 41%.
‘Modern Family’ Sets Full-Series Streaming Run On Both Peacock And HuluModern Family, which wrapped its highly decorated, 11-season broadcast TV run last year, is embarking on a significant new streaming chapter via a shared deal with Peacock and Hulu. Starting February 3, all 250 episodes of the sitcom will be available on both services after years of only having a limited batch of episodes on Hulu. The go-go streaming market remains in effect, with sources indicating a multi-year acquisition price well into nine figures, consistent with healthy rates for recent half-hours like Friends, The Office and Seinfeld. Prices have been driven higher by a handful of new billion-dollar players entering the streaming fray over the past year.
At launch, Boreland said, the first 12 episodes of the 24-episode first season of Modern Family will be available on Peacock. The remaining 10 seasons will be on Peacock Premium, which is $5 a month for most customers. Comcast has said Peacock has attracted 26 million users to date, though the company has not broken out numbers for the premium tier. Hulu had 38.8 million subscribers as of December, according to Disney.