We’ll obviously know more in a week’s time. But there’s reason to be a bit skeptical. For starters, there is the primary reason Halloween Kills is on Peacock right now: the NBC-Universal streaming service has precious little exclusive content with built-in fanbases making their world premieres on the platform. Much like when WarnerMedia first announced that Wonder Woman 1984 would be going to HBO Max last year (and then soon their entire 2021 film slate), Peacock is starved for original content to stand out from the crowd—even more so than HBO Max.
n Q2, Peacock saw 20 million households activate their ad-based version of the service, many in order to access viewing the Olympics in the U.S. on streaming. However, Peacock tellingly declined to release its premium user numbers on the service—the $5 subscription fee component which Halloween Kills has been siloed under.
While WarnerMedia is similarly vague about the actual activation numbers of HBO Max users, we do know that as of the end of the second quarter, 43.5 million users had access to the service, up from around 37.7 million users as of January. And in January, the number of activated accounts among those 37.7 million users had doubled in the span of a month to 17.2 million—after WarnerMedia put Wonder Woman on HBO Max and promised a whole year of major Hollywood content on the service.
In other words, HBO Max has already made headway with users willing to pay for their service (or simply activate it from their already existing HBO subscription) because of the access to major Hollywood blockbusters. Peacock has likely had no such luck, hence the surprising choice to put Halloween Kills on Peacock while Sony and MGM were doubling down on theaters with Venom: Let There Be Carnage and No Time to Die, particularly after Shang-Chi overperformed in early September in theaters.
Halloween Kills premiering on Peacock had more to do with buttressing that service’s relatively limited appeal as it did with catering to cinemagoers nervous about the Delta variant. Dune, meanwhile, is coming out on a service that has a larger paid subscription base who’ve come to expect major Hollywood content regularly premiering straight to their HBO Max account.
All of which may be reason to take pause about Dune’s prospects. With that said, the Villeneuve science fiction epic is already doing exceedingly well in global markets where it’s opened ahead of its U.S. and UK premieres. As of Friday, the Frank Herbert adaptation has already grossed over $117 million worldwide, with the movie not opening in North America or China as of yet. So the appetite is there for Dune, and if it can simply outperform the limited earnings of other WB films this year, it could be well on its way to securing Villeneuve’s coveted “Part Two” film.
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