No streamer, no problem – Lionsgate and Sony movies thrive at home without them

With six of the eight major film distributors committed to their own streaming sites — and all the expenses that go with it — the two studios operating without a streamer continue to elevate home viewing without that hefty investment.

Universal has three films occupying eight spots this week, led by the just-released “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” which is #1 on all three VOD charts. Lionsgate also has three movies in eight slots, while Sony has three movies in six slots, plus three more movies in Netflix’s top 10.

Multiple placements are not unusual for Universal; it has high volume and a consistent PVOD policy that often sees stocks emerge in a month or less. For the more scrappy Lionsgate, this achievement required a lot of clever strategy. Both “Operation Fortune: Russe de Guerre” and “Sisu” showed limited interest in theaters (each grossed about $7 million). Yet each showed strength on PVOD, ahead of films that did much better.

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“Sisu” is a Finnish WWII film that sounds like the kind of international action title Netflix regularly debuts, usually for a short run. It premiered at Midnight Madness in Toronto last year, with Sony Worldwide acquiring the rights, including in North America, with distribution being handed over to Lionsgate. The fact that the film is clicking home – no. 2 on both iTunes and Vudu – suggests its stage run has sensitized an audience eager to see a new war-themed title. (Our own David Ehrlich places it firmly in the “they pissed off the wrong guy” genre.)

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick 4. Photo by: Murray Close
“John Wick: Chapter 4”Murray Close/Lionsgate

Lionsgate released both films to domestic audiences ahead of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ which hit theaters weeks earlier. It hits PVOD on Tuesday (according to the iTunes daily chart, pre-sales place it at #10). Don’t be surprised if it supplants “SMB”, at least initially. Universal charges a hefty $24.99 for rental, $29.99 for download, making the profit even bigger.

Four more titles posted on all three sites. Sony’s “65”, with a reduced price of $5.95, ranks third (iTunes), with “The Covenant” (MGM) still at $19.99, “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (Paramount , #2 on Google Play) and “Evil Dead Rise” (Warner Bros. Discovery) complete the list.

Two other debut titles are “To Catch a Killer” (Vertical) and “Big George Foreman” (Sony). Starring Shaillene Woodley, “To Catch a Killer” is the American debut of Damián Szifron, the Argentine director of “Wild Tales”. It had a minimal theatrical run and placed fifth on iTunes at $6.99. “Foreman,” which flopped badly in theaters, debuted on VOD for $19.99 after its third weekend. That price helped it land on Vudu’s chart, as it scores by revenue, not transactions.

MISSING, from left: Storm Reid, Megan Suri, 2023. ph: Temma Hankin / © Sony Pictures Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection
“Missing”©Sony Pictures/Courtesy of Everett Collection

‘Missing’ is the latest Sony film to hit #1 on Netflix; is the sequel to 2018’s ‘Searching’, a $7 million sleeper that grossed $37 million after its premiere at Sundance. “A Man Called Otto” is still #3; it is joined in the top five by “The Son,” the sequel to Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Father” which barely caused a ripple in theaters ($450,000 gross) despite Hugh Jackman starring. His answer seems like another case of millions of Netflix viewers clicking play when they find a movie they know nothing about but with a big star.

“The Mother” starring Jennifer Lopez ranks second in its second week. Two other original films also debuted: the documentary “Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me” and the Dutch “Faithfully Yours,” a thriller.

iTunes and Google Play rank movies each day based on the number of transactions. These are the lists for Monday 22 May. The distributors listed are the current rights holders. Prices for all titles are per rental.


1. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal) – $24.99

2. Content (Lionsgate) – $19.99

3.65 (Sony) – $5.99

4. The Covenant (MGM) – $19.99

5. To catch a killer (Vertical) – $6.99

6. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount) – $19.99

7. Operation Fortuna: Russian War (Lionsgate) – $5.99

8. Rise of the Evil Dead (WBD) – $19.99

9. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate) – $19.99

10. Avatar: The Water Way (Disney) – $19.99

Google Play

1. The Super Mario Bros Movie (Universal) – $24.99

2. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount) – $19.99

3. Rise of the Evil Dead (WBD) – $19.99

4. Content (Lionsgate) – $19.99

5. The Covenant (MGM) – $19.99

6. Avatar: The Water Way (Disney) – $19.99

7.65 (Sony) – $5.99

8. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania (Disney) – $19.99

9. The pope’s exorcist (Sony) – $19.99

10. Rinfield (Universal) – $19.99


Vudu ranks based on revenue, not transactions, elevating premium VOD titles. This list covers May 15-21.

1. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal) – $24.99

2. Content (Lionsgate) – $19.99

3. The Rise of the Evil Dead (WBD) – $19.99

4. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount) – $19.99

5. The Covenant (MGM) – $19.99

6. The pope’s exorcist (Sony) – $19.99

7. To catch a killer (Vertical) – $6.99

8. Great George Foreman (Sony) – $19.99

9. Renfield (Universal) – $19.99

10.65 (Sony) – $5.99

Netflix movies

Most Viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily leaderboard on Monday, May 22. Originals include both Netflix-produced and acquired titles it initially presents in the United States. Netflix releases its weekly top 10 list on Tuesdays by watch time.

1. Missing (2023 theatrical release)

2. The Mother (Netflix Original)

3. A man named Otto (2022 theatrical release)

4. German (2012 theatrical release)

5. The son (2022 theatrical release)

6. Anna Nicole Smith: You don’t know me (Netflix Original Documentary)

7. Faithfully yours (Dutch Netflix original)

8. The Croods (2013 theatrical release)

9. The ugly dolls (2019 theatrical release)

10. Long live Mexico! (2023 theatrical release)