July Insights From Cinelytic

1H 2021 v. 1H 2022 – What A Difference A Year Makes

For the July blog, we decided to take a look at VOD performance for the 1st half of 2022 and compare it against the 2nd half of 2021 using our P2P tracking technology to understand how VOD patterns and performance have shifted over the past year.  What has changed and what can we learn about VOD viewership in 2022.  We know from recent hit performances that consumers are back in cinema and enjoying a very strong Summer theatrical season.  MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU has grossed US$640m of worldwide box office, THOR LOVE AND THUNDER is close to US$600m, JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION is just over US$920m and TOP GUN: MAVERICK has achieved US$1.3b of worldwide box office.

Some Things Have Changed, Others Have Stayed The Same

We first focused on the Top 20 performing film titles for 1H 2022 using our proprietary P2P technology data that tracks 125m transactions per day agglomerating up to 35b transactions annually from P2P sites worldwide and compared it to 2H 2021 titles release.

Below is the market share that each title represented of the Top 20 titles ranked by P2P transactions for the 1H of 2022:

THE BATMAN jumped ahead of its rivals with a strong showing for the year, along with SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME and DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS.  All three had exclusive theatrical windows, 45 days for the caped crusader and Doctor Strange, and approximately 90 days for the webslinger.  Looking below at 2H of 2021 shows a bit of a different narrative.

For 2021, the December day-and-date release of THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS topped the chart while BLACK WIDOW’S day-and-date release in May came in second.  

For the 1H of 2022 the Top 10 titles represented 61.9% of the Top 20’s performance, whereas 2021’s Top 10 represented 63.5%.  Thus, we do not see much of a change in terms of how titles performed from year to year.  Additionally, from a box office perspective, DBO for the 1H 2022 Top 10 approached US$2.3b.  For 2H 2021, the Top 10 garnered DBO of US$1.4b.  Thus, a material upswing in box office performance.  Furthermore, for 1H 2022, 8 of the Top 10 films released in over 4,100 theaters, while in 2H 2021, 7 of the Top 10 released in the same number of theaters.  All to say there was capacity for films to perform.

Thus, we see improved box office performance from films releasing in similar theaters with approximate VOD performance by market share.  What then has changed?

It’s All About The Window 

The big difference between 2022 and 2021 is the theatrical window and where it sits today.  We took approximately 15 titles from the Top 10 VOD releases for each six month time period and plotted their 1st seven days of performance grouped by release window (0-21 days, 45 days, 55-90 days).  Outlined below are the results for 1H 2022:

The data shows that for the titles outlined, the best window of performance for the 1st seven days of release on VOD is a 45 window.  It allows for titles to achieve their best revenue results in all its various media.  The next visualization outlines performance for 2H of 2021:

What we find is that during that period of consumption, when some titles released day-and-date and others pushed for a more traditional theatrical window, titles that released day-and-date performed best over their 1st seven days of VOD release.  The box office data would show that many of the day-and-date titles did not perform well in theaters. The day-and-date strategy was strong for growing subscriber bases of VOD platforms, but it did not allow for films to gross maximum revenue via all forms of media.

So…Who Wins in the End?

Consumers are benefiting from movies being back in theaters with shortened windows on VOD.  As we mentioned above, a 45 day window has allowed for feature films to achieve their best results in both theaters and on streaming.  In looking at distributors, Walt Disney Studios has continued to dominate in 2022, but many of its competitors are getting a chance to showcase improved performance:

Sony Pictures has seen the most noticeable jump since 2H 2021, with the VOD releases of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, MORBIUS, UNCHARTED and GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE.  Paramount Pictures sits at #4 with THE LOST CITY and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, and should see another sizable bump in later quarters with the streaming release of TOP GUN: MAVERICK.

In comparison to 2H 2021, the telling story is about Warner Bros. Pictures and what occurred once windows shifted back from day-and-date to initial and exclusive theatrical windows.  Only THE BATMAN and FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE helped it retain a spot in the Top 10 in 2022.

Conclusion – Here’s What We Learned

Audiences have been heading back to theaters in significant numbers since the final quarter of 2021 and we hope to see the same trend continue as Summer comes to a close and we approach Fall.  Exciting titles lie ahead including BULLET TRAIN, BLACK ADAM, BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER and AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER.  We still believe that every three months the distribution paradigm changes, meaning that what we see today could very well alter by October.  Based on the data we have outlined, we see that a 45 day exclusive theatrical window is sufficient for feature films to find success in theaters and perform well in other media.  Major theatrical titles no longer need a 90 day theatrical window in order to maximize revenue.