Warner Bros. Discovery is projecting huge losses from the impact of writer and actor strikes, but “Barbie” is still around to help them pay bills. It’s hardly news that as Greta Gerwig’s smash hit starts its initial post-theater platform release, it’s #1 on PVOD charts. The real story: that it’s doing so with a hefty premium price.

Gerwig’s #1 theatrical hit worldwide for 2023 (which will end up with around $1.5 billion in theatrical returns) is now renting on PVOD for $24.99, with the option to add it to your digital library permanently for $29.99. Studios recover 80 percent from revenues returned for these transactions, less a small slice for the carrier. That means Warner Bros. Discovery will recoup around $20 for each “Barbie” rental, $25 for each download. It’s a bonanza.

As always, how much actual money is involved with these transactions is not known, but if five million domestic homes rent the film, it would mean about $100 million is heading back to the studio. That’s pure profit at this point.

“Barbie” was released after 53 days in theaters, with a longer-than-normal window, as would be expected for a hit of this magnitude. The impact on the weekend box office was non-existent. It dropped 33 percent from the prior one in final weekend figures, and maintained its #5 position. Its release date doppelgänger “Oppenheimer” fell 34 percent with perhaps months to go before it has its own home availability.

A scene from "Talk to Me."
“Talk to Me“Courtesy A24

Three recent releases risked debuting the same week as “Barbie.” The best results came from “Talk to Me,” A24’s most recent horror hit (the low budget film has grossed $48 million), which is #2 on Vudu and in third place at iTunes. (Once again, Google Play has not updated its film chart, though other ones, including for books, are revised daily.)

Liam Neeson’s latest action thriller “Retribution” (Roadside) popped up in the seventh spot on both charts. “The Hill” (Briarcliff), a faith-based sports biopic is #at Vudu. Both, along with “Talk to Me,” are available at $19.99.

Both charts are top-heavy with PVOD entries, not just Vudu which ranks by revenue, which elevates high-priced films. Both list the $5.99 rental “No Hard Feelings” (#2 at iTunes) and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (both Sony), while iTunes also has the just-reduced price “Joy Ride” (Lionsgate) at #9.

"Love at First Sight"
“Love at First Sight”Netflix

Maybe algorithms explain, but Netflix continues to exist in some audience-appeal alternate universe. Their original rom-com “Love at First Sight” with Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy is #1, though burdened by a cliche title that would likely be reject for any theatrical film. (It is based on a young adult best-seller, though with a slightly tweaked title.)

Then there’s the new studio entries this week. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is #2, ahead of “Wolf of Wall Street” at #3 added to their slate. It likely was a close race, with the former (which grossed half of Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed drama) helped by part three of its franchise recently opening in theaters. Or maybe, like “First Sight,” Netflix viewers are different from theatergoers, or less challenging viewing is elevated here.

Recent #1 Netflix originals “Woody Woodpecker” and “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitvah” round out their movie top five, with the latter with its now lengthy strong showing further testament to Adam Sandler’s importance to the streamer.

Two Netflix originals from acclaimed international directors release recently have had slightly different fates so far. Pablo Larrain’s “El Conde,” fresh off of Venice showings, has so far not made the top ten. The director (“Jackie,” “Spencer”) returned to his native Chile to make this mixed genre satire about the dictator Pinochet.

Danish director Bille August (two-time Palme d’or winner for “Pelle the Conqueror” and “Best Intentions,” who also won the Foreign Language Film Oscar for “Pelle”) appeared briefly last week with his latest film. “Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction” is adapted from a Karen Blixen story.

iTunes ranks films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for Monday, September 18. Distributors listed are current rights owners. Prices for all titles are for rental.As noted above, at least temporarily Google Play isn’t providing updated charts.


1.Barbie (WB) – $24.99

2.No Hard Feelings (Sony) – $5.99

3. Talk to Me (A24) – $19.99

4. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney) – $19.99

5. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony) – $5.99

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Paramount) – $19.99

7. Retribution (Roadside) – $19.99

8. Strays (Universal) – $19.99

9. Joyride (Lionsgate) – $5.99

10. Meg 2: The Trench – $19.99


Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, elevating premium VOD titles. This list covers September 11-17.

1. Barbie (WB) – $24.99

2. Talk to Me (A24) – $19.99

3. Strays (Universal) – $19.99

4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony) – $5.99

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Paramount) – $19.99

6. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney) – $19.99

7. Retribution (Roadside) – $19.99

8. Meg 2: The Trench (WB) – $19.99

9. No Hard Feelings (Sony) – $5.99

10. The Hill (Briarcliff) – $19.99

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily chart on Monday, September 18. Originals include both Netflix-produced and acquired titles it initially presents in the U.S. Netflix publishes its own weekly top 10 on Tuesdays based on time viewed

1. Love at First Sight (Netflix U.S. original)

2. My Big Fat Wedding 2 (2016 theatrical release)

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013 theatrical release)

4. Woody Woodpecker (Netflix U.S. original)

5. You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitvah (Netflix original)

6. Matilda (1996 theatrical release)

7. Don’t Worry Darling (2022 theatrical release)

8. Despicable Me 2 (2013 theatrical release)

9. The Boss Baby (2017 theatrical release)

10. Cry Macho (2021 theatrical release)

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