The latest streaming numbers are in from Nielsen, and the two movies holding the top spots the week of October 18th to the 24th come from Disney+, beating its main competition in Netflix. The Marvel Studios film Black Widow —the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to premiere simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ — and Hocus Pocus came in first and second place, respectively. Netflix rounds out the Top 5 with The Forgotten Battle in third place, Going In Style in fourth, and Night Teeth (2021) in fifth. Ironically, both Disney+ and Netflix have five movies a piece in the Top 10.
Black Widow made its Disney+ debut in the summer, with Disney deciding to offer it to subscribers the same time it was released in theaters through Disney Premier Access. For the price of $29.99, Disney+ subscribers could pay to watch the MCU prequel film. The company touted record-setting streaming numbers for Black Widow, but that didn’t stop its star, Scarlett Johansson, from suing Disney for the decision. Johansson claimed Black Widow‘s box office was hurt by the hybrid release strategy, costing her millions of dollars. A game of one-upmanship was played in the media between both parties, with other celebrities and executives chiming in. Johansson and Disney eventually settled the lawsuit in September, and the star is even working with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige on a secret non-Black Widow project.
“I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow,” Disney Studios Content Chairman Alan Bergman said in a statement. “We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s Tower of Terror.” Johansson added: “I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
“We are already working with Scarlett on another non-Black Widow-related top-secret Marvel Studios project with her as a producer,” Feige revealed during a celebration of Scarlett Johansson’s career. “Scarlett is one of the most talented, versatile and beloved actors of our time. It has truly been a pleasure to work with someone of her caliber. From those epic training sessions preparing for the hallway fight in Iron Man 2, to the around the world press tour in Avengers: Endgame to partnering with you as a producer on Black Widow, working with you Scarlett has truly been one of the most memorable and rewarding collaborations of my career.”
For fans that didn’t want to pay the Disney+ Premier Access price to stream Black Widow, the MCU film became available free for all subscribers on October 6th. This is probably what helped propel it to the Number 1 spot in the Nielsen ratings for the last week of October.
Hocus Pocus may come as a surprise for the second spot, but with all the recent chatter for its sequel, it could have helped drive viewership. Hocus Pocus 2 was officially announced in December 2020, though it was unclear at the time if original stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy would return. That was officially confirmed on Halloween of this year, with the additions of Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Belissa Escobedo, Doug Jones, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Hannah Wadingham, Juju Brener, Froy Guiterrez, Taylor Henderson, and Nina Kitchen.
What do you think of Disney+ beating Netflix in Nielsen’s Top 10 streaming movies for the October week? Did any surprises make the list? Let us know down in the comments.