What Did People Watch This Weekend? It’s Complicated.


I’m feeling a little nostalgic for the good old days, otherwise known as this past February. It was so easy to see what movies were the most popular around: Studios would release their box-office estimates and, voila! We knew which movies were soaring, which were sinking and which were just treading water.

Now, it’s not so easy.

If you look at the video-on-demand world—where people pony up cash to see a new release at home—Scoob! is still putting the scare in the competition. It’s first on FandangoNOW’s Top 100 list, with Trolls World Tour ranked second. Amazon Video has Scoob! listed at No. 1 and No. 2, oddly (one being people who bought the movie, the other who rented it, I’m guessing), with Trolls World Tour sliding in at third. And Scoob! is doing quite well over on the iTunes charts, too.

But VOD releases like Scoob! share space on these lists with other, older movies, too. The Invisible Man, one of the last big traditional releases before the coronavirus closed the entertainment industry down, is actually No. 1 on iTunes’ list—followed by Scoob! and third-place Knives Out. Over at Fandango, The Invisible Man slinks into the shadows at third place, behind Scoob! and Trolls.

Invisible is nowhere to be seen on Amazon’s list, but Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot is. It’s fourth there, sixth at Fandango and, well, clean out of sight on iTunes.

In terms of new releases, The High Note was the biggie on VOD. While the musical romance didn’t make a pitch for No. 1 anywhere, it’s fourth on iTunes’ chart.

But if The High Note might be the most lucrative new release this weekend, it’s not the most talked about. That honor goes to The Vast of Night, a small, clever, sci-fi production that landed on Amazon Prime this weekend. Critics love the thing. How many people actually watched it? Who knows? Amazon, like many streaming outlets, can be pretty cagey about those details.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s own top 10 list (which doesn’t differentiate between movies and television) is loaded with TV. Only two movies cracked into the top 10 there—and both star Adam Sandler. His critically acclaimed, wildly problematic 2019 film Uncut Gems landed in fourth place, while his 2011 romcom Just Go With It, co-starring Jennifer Aniston, squeaked in at No. 8.

As theaters prepare to open their doors soon, albeit with new rules and guidelines, we may see some semblance of normalcy return to the box office. But not just yet.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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