The arrival of streaming platforms has allowed a number of old series and movies to find a new audience, and The Sopranos is one of those to be reaping the rewards, especially now prequel film The Many Saints of Newark has arrived. Even though the series aired its final episode fourteen years ago, with that ending that had fans screaming at their TV screens, the story of Tony Soprano hasn’t lost any of its popularity over the years and has been a continual viewer puller for WarnerMedia on HBO Max. It appears now the prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark has brought the series right back into the public eye, it is once again breaking records on the streaming platform.
Following the premiere of The Many Saints of Newark, which delves into a previous era of the Sopranos history and tells the story of the father of Dickie Moltisanti, the mentor of a young Tony and father of Christopher Moltisanti, The Sopranos saw a 65% week on week increase in the viewers, leading to the series bringing in the highest daily viewership of any single program in HBO Max’s history and breaking the record for the weekly number of viewers to watch a TV series in the process.
While The Many Saints of Newark was a small hit in cinemas, Variety reported that the movie gained the highest number of viewers for a film on the platform last week, which was three times that of the nearest titles, including new releases such as Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho and Hugh Jackman’s Reminiscence. Its reviews were also stellar. Once again, it proves that there is a lot of interest in revisiting older properties like The Sopranos, and thanks to the growing number of streamers there are plenty of platforms for new stories based on them can find a home.
The movie took just over $5 million on its opening weekend in cinemas, which in normal times would be a cause for concern to a studio, but with the film streaming simultaneously and bringing in huge viewer numbers on HBO Max for both it and the flagship series, there is no doubt that WarnerMedia’s executives are delighted with the double victory.
“We knew there would be interplay, but we were surprised. The Sopranos is such a popular series. It pops in and out of the Top 10 from time to time, and it’s not a juggernaut like Friends in terms of breadth, but it does very well,” Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager of WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, said to Variety.
Of course The Many Saints of Newark was never originally intended to be a day and date release, as there wasn’t such a thing when the movie was green-lit, but Forssell did believe that the strategy was a good fit for the release. He continued:
“I think independent of the day-to-day strategy, it’s kind of a no-brainer for us to feel passionate about this. People want more Sopranos in whatever form that David feels there is a good story. We were super excited long before this, but it is a really good fit with day-and-date. All of the complexities of getting to the strategy that this year imposed, we want people to see this. Plenty saw it in theaters, a much larger amount saw it on the service and will continue to see it on the service. It’s a really good fit in this context.”
Forssell was also keen to acknowledge that there is a definite difference in original movies being put out on the streaming platform as opposed, especially when those features have a link to other available titles.
“In the traditional theatrical world, studios support movies and they either win or lose. In our world, there is some element of that, we want the title to be great and want it to perform. But it’s also part of our day-and-date slate this year. Our viewers have clearly voted that they come in for the slate, there are a couple of titles that attracted them, but the slate alone is a reason for them to stick around. At the end of the year that will start to wain, it’s not 17 or 18 films anymore, it’s just the tail. But we’ve seen that clearly and Many Saints fits into that as a great part of the mix.”
“The other angle to look at it from is the interplay between a great film like this and a long-running series like The Sopranos. As users, we love those characters and those worlds. Sometimes, we sit down and sign up for two or three hours of a story well told. There are other times when what we want is a service to provide us many weeks or months of enjoyment watching something episodic. Many Saints was number one – by a long shot – as the biggest title on the service. That’s a great combination and it’s going to continue for weeks, so it’s going to have longer legs because of that interplay.”
While many studios such as Sony have been fully behind a return to theatrical only releases, and Disney has quickly adapted their strategy to leave behind the day and date release method used for the likes of Black Widow, Forssell makes a good point that there are some movies that will greatly benefit being surrounded the properties they have links to, and as well as series, this could also apply to belated sequels to other movies that could encourage viewers to revisit some of the older movies in the franchise directly from the new release. There is still a lot of change to come in relation to the release of movies in the future, and with many more streamers such as Netflix throwing blockbuster budgets at movies destined for their platform, it looks like the hybrid release strategy is something that is here to stay.
The Many Saints of Newark and the entire series of The Sopranos are available on HBO Max. This news was first reported by Variety.
Topics: The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark, HBO Max