Following a 13-year gap between films, the Avatar franchise picked up right where it left off, pushing forward computer-generated graphics and herding millions of people to their local theaters.
Avatar 2 Dominates on Disney+ & Max
This is incredible viewership compared to other movies released on streaming, although it's important to keep in mind that The Way of Water is available on two streamers simultaneously.
As previously reported, Avatar 2 ranked #1 as the most-watched movie on streamers on the weekend of Friday, June 9 through Sunday, June 11 based on data from TV Time (via Whip Media).
The following is a list of 5-day viewership numbers on Disney+ (per Samba TV):
- Soul (direct to streaming): 2.4M
- Thor: Love and Thunder: 2.2M
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: 2.1M
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: 2.1M
- Eternals: 2M
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: 1.7M
- Lightyear: 1.7M
- Black Widow: 1.1M
- Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania: 966k
The following list is from HBO Max releases' 5-day viewership (per Samba TV). Keep in mind that all of these films were released on the streamer and in theaters day and date:
- Mortal Kombat: 3.8M
- Godzilla vs. Kong: 3.6M
- The Suicide Squad: 2.8M
- Wonder Woman 1984: 2.2M
- Space Jam: A New Legacy: 2.1M
- Dune: 1.7M
The Balance of Theatrical and Streaming Success
Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge for every movie studio in Hollywood. Each took a different approach in terms of releasing films in theaters, directing on streaming, or both at the same time.
That obviously can inflate some of the previously mentioned streaming numbers, but one thing has become clear: a film that can have a profitable run at the box office and then continue success on streaming is most valuable.
Avatar: The Way of Water is the latest example, but 2022's The Batman really set the bat high.
Matt Reeves' crime drama set in Gotham earned nearly $771 million globally, then began streaming on HBO Max 45 days after its premiere.
Reporting from CinemaCon 2022, The Batman's first-week viewership in Smart TV U.S. households was greater than The Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman 1984, The Matrix Resurrections, and Dune.
A massive win for a film that already succeeded in theaters, having legs run into streaming success is the best-case scenario for studios in the 2020s.
20th Century Studios' Avatar: The Way of Water is the latest success, now streaming on Disney+ and Max.