Those who prefer to wait to see “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount/$19.99) at home, or to see it again, will get their chance earlier than expected. Advance rentals for the film on PVOD already have propelled it to #4 at iTunes.
Vudu similarly reports that on the day after the release was announced, it’s already the biggest presale among 2022 films. That tracks: The film has grossed $675 million so far in the U.S./Canada, $260 million more than #2 “Jurassic Park: Dominion” (Universal).
Similar to Warner Bros. Discovery’s strategy for “Elvis,” Paramount will give “Top Gun: Maverick” an initial exclusive PVOD home platform before it arrives on Paramount +. Prior to “Elvis,” all 2022 WBD releases had simultaneous streaming and PVOD play.
Both studios are adapting a strategy that Universal perfected, albeit with longer windows. Universal initiated this two years ago during Covid: Films that open under $50 million go PVOD after three weekends; for those over $50 million, after five. (A rare exception: Jordan Peele’s “Nope” has yet to appear, although it’s now in its fourth week of release.)
“Elvis” appeared on PVOD just after 45 days in release, consistent with the window the studio previously utilized for streaming play. “Maverick” will appear a little over 90 days, which is even longer than the 70-75 standard pre-Covid for PVOD.
First- or simultaneous-access would be a huge win for Paramount+, but here’s why streaming-exclusive makes sense: It is lucrative for both the studio and profit participants (including Tom Cruise), with something over $14 per transaction as Paramount’s share. Also, experience increasingly shows that PVOD availability has limited impact on ticket sales, which can even benefit from the uptick in marketing.
Paramount+ viewers have the option of signing on to a streamer for a month, for a price lower than the one-time rental. Anecdotally, it appears that a single film doesn’t necessarily provide a platform with long-term benefits. Of course, Paramount+ will get the film at some point.
For those hoping for a physical copy, “Maverick” will not be released on DVD/Blu-Ray until November 1, a particularly long delay. The digital release will include an unusual 110 minutes of bonus material that includes segments dedicated to the aerial training program, Cruise piloting his WWII P-51, the Cannes master class with Cruise, and of course the Lady Gaga video for “Hold My Hand.”
With actual PVOD data infrequent and incomplete, it’s fair to say that if “Maverick” is to top “Spider-Man: No Way Home” on PVOD charts, it will need to remain #1 for more than six weeks. The Sony Marvel smash also had no streaming competition.