Warner Bros. isn’t reporting any official box office results for Wonder Woman 1984 on its opening Christmas Day — which various sources tell us was record-worthy for the pandemic stateside, disastrous by normal marketplace conditions — but various HBO Max users are taking to social media, in particular the @HBOMaxHelp Twitter handle, to voice their grievances over either streaming glitches or problems logging on to the app.
There haven’t been any blackouts yet for HBO Max because of the DC sequel tentpole hitting the service as of 12 p.m. EST yesterday. But should they occur, it’s par for the course whenever a popular title hits streaming (i.e. Netflix’s two-hour outage back in 2016 when Marvel series Luke Cage dropped).
An HBO Max rep tells us this morning, “HBO Max did not experience any significant disruptions.”
One viewer today on the @HBOMaxHelp Twitter reported problems in watching the Patty Jenkins-directed feature on a new Roku. That’s a service which HBO Max recently made an agreement with to annex that device’s 46M subscribers. Roku was one of the key streamer device holdouts for HBO Max, the service able to tie-up deals with a number of pay-TV providers, gaming platforms, connected-TV devices, and major hubs like Apple and Google earlier this year.
@HBOMaxHelp Trying to watch #WW84 on a new roku series 5 4K tv and it’s unwatchable due to stream issues. Other movies and internet working great. You guys are really making it easy to choose to watch that other new movie on that other platform instead this morning…
— .harman. (@ndrewharman) December 26, 2020
Test says excellent signal strength. My tv is on compatible list for watching in 4K. Still doesn’t work. I can stream 4K and Dolby on Disney plus just fine. I’m having better luck watching #WW1984 using iOS app and air playing to tv than actually using your roku app.
— .harman. (@ndrewharman) December 26, 2020
@HBOMaxHelp trying to stream Wonder Woman on HBOMax on a Roku and its incredibly choppy visually. The audio is synced, but the video stream is skipping frames.
Tried to stream another HBOMax movie and it works 100% on audio and video.
Any idea how to fix this?
— Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) December 26, 2020
Even New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis (see below) is having problems with Roku, but found a workaround. Anecdotally, I will say when I first downloaded the HBO Max app when it launched back in May, it wasn’t a simple download to the phone and an easy entering of my cable system email and password. The app didn’t recognize that, and Spectrum customer service were clueless as to what HBO Max was and how to get it to work. Another one of my journalist colleagues said the streaming on their HBO Max would stop to buffer every two minutes for a few seconds. After 30 minutes, they gave up and are planning to watch the movie later this week when there’s fewer people on the app.
I finally was able to activate HBO Max on my cell phone and AppleTV by creating a new user name and password under my Spectrum account. Again, these are all kinks that HBO Max needs to iron out if they’re serious about being a player in the streaming sphere. They may want to think again before they dump a slew of $200M 2021 branded theatrical tentpoles on their service.
I have a Roku and can only watch HBO Max on our TV using this workaround that I found on a Roku user site filled with complaints about the HBO Max app. Not optimal. (The Roku is up to date and I tried all the obvious things to get the HBO app to work normally. No dice.) https://t.co/bGgPkcYsIU pic.twitter.com/FZggkVLb0O
— Manohla Dargis (@ManohlaDargis) December 26, 2020
Others yesterday reported pure crash issues (see below), while other complaints centered around the film not streaming in 4K, confusion as to why it’s not on Amazon Prime, Hulu, or available abroad (it just isn’t, that’s not part of the deal). @HBOMaxHelp, which only counts 3,3K followers on Twitter, is actively fielding these direct complaints left and right, attempting to solve via direct messaging. HBO Max problems, I’m told, stemmed from users not rebooting or updating their proper device apps. Still, in the user-friendly tech world created by the late Steve Jobs, it shouldn’t be that hard to download an app and watch Wonder Woman 1984 at home.
— bentramer1031 (@Chris76863626) December 25, 2020
This is all I can get. pic.twitter.com/RhUCq2l4L1
— Mike (@IrishMike_076) December 25, 2020
Rival distributors continue to express their ire over Warner Bros and Sony’s hiding of numbers in box office collection system Comscore (whereby distributors can dive into various markets and see how competitive ticket sales are faring). This blackout began when Warners released Tenet as theaters were reopening during the pandemic. Why is this something to get upset about? Because it’s all about accountability, and a second data source backing up a studio’s box office claim. How do we know that Sony was No. 1 last weekend with Monster Hunter at $2.2M and not Universal’s Croods: A New Age at $2.07M? Just because Sony said so?
I’m told that Wonder Woman 1984 is on its way to posting the best 3-day during the pandemic, feasibly grossing in the low teens, and besting the 3-day of Tenet ($9.3M) and Croods 2 ($9.7M). Theater count is around 2,150. Again, for DC fans where movie theaters are open, it appears as though it’s just easier to go to the movie theater. Again, 60% of the 5,8K domestic marketplace is shut down. The first Wonder Woman opened to $103.2M during the first weekend of June 2017 at 4,165 locations.
Wonder Woman 1984 saw its Rotten Tomatoes certified rating stripped, and fell to a current rating of 68% fresh from 89% on Dec. 16 and 80% on Dec. 22, as opposed to the 2017 edition’s 93% certified fresh. In a Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak report, WW1984 received an 82% positive audience exit score and a 65% recommend. Kids under 12 loved it at 91% positive. Pic leaned 52% female, with 56% over 25, with 32% over 35. Diversity breakdown was 41% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, 22% African American, & 12% Asian/other. Keep in mind with those exits, we have a fractured exhibition marketplace, where several DMAs like Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York are shuttered.
In second place is Universal’s Tom Hanks western News of the World with a $1.05M Christmas Friday and anticipated $3M opening weekend at 1,900 cinemas. Uni’s Croods 2 from DreamWorks Animation is third with $550K yesterday and a $2.07M 5th weekend at 1,726 (-180), even with last weekend for a running total of $30.7M. Sony/Screen Gems’ Monster Hunter is anticipated to rank fourth, with around $1M for the 3-day, -54%. Focus Features’ new entry, the Carey Mulligan thriller, Promising Young Woman, made $270K yesterday, on its way to a $660K opening at 1,310. Lionsgate’s Fatale at 1,168 is expected to ring in around $600K in its second weekend at 1,168, rising to $1.9M, while Roadside Attractions’ Pinocchio at 794 is estimated to gross around $300K.
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