It was a disappointment that Pixar’s 23rd film, Soul, wasn’t able to open in theaters as originally planned. The film was built for the big screen with its all-star cast, stellar visuals, and beautiful audio score.
But, it turns out that the power of the Pixar brand stood strong as Soul launched exclusively on Disney+ the morning of December 25, 2020. According to Nielsen’s streaming ratings, the film was streamed for a mind-blowing 1.669 Billion minutes during the week of December 21-27, 2020 (as reported by Deadline).
With the film being approximately 100 minutes (from when you hit play on Disney+, to Terry’s post-credits rant), that means the film was potentially streamed in its entirety 16,690,000 times (1,669,000,000 total minutes streamed / 100 minutes film length = 16,690,000 individual streams).
That got us wondering, what would this equate to for an opening-weekend box office total? You’ll have to bear with us as there are a few assumptions in our math (since some figures weren’t available), but we’ve made the best estimates we can with the present information. Feel free to chime in if you have other ideas or statistics.
OPENING WEEKEND BOX-OFFICE-EQUIVALENT CALCULATION
According to our initial estimates, Soul‘s box-office opening weekend would equate to, $382,201,000 USD. Note that the average Pixar Domestic box-office revenue for an opening weekend is $75,390,000.
Of course, there are a lot of reasons and assumptions to get us to that number, but let us explain — we think Terry would be proud of our number-crunching.
The average ticket price for a film in 2019 (factoring in 3D, senior, adult, and child ticket pricing) was $9.16 according to the Motion Picture Association’s annual report. We made the assumption that the average number of people who would have attended the theater to watch the movie would be 2.5 people. So, for every 2.5 people sitting on their couch watching Soul on Disney+, they would have had to spend $22.90 to see that movie in theaters ($9.16*2.5 = $22.90).
Since the film was streamed approximately 16,690,000 times, each of those streams would have pulled in approximately $22.90 each for a total of $382,201,000 (16,690,000*22.90 = $382,201,000).
This is the power of the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) business — whereas the average Pixar film opens in 3,927 theaters on opening weekend, Disney+ currently has 86.8 million (global) subscribers. Since the Nielsen ratings only track U.S. households, we wanted to look at the percentage of Disney+ subscribers in the U.S. only. Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t publish subscriber numbers by country, but from our estimates, it may be approximately 40% of the total subscribers — so, 34,720,000 U.S. subscribers (86,800,000*.4 = 34,720,000).
If there are in fact, approximately 34,720,000 U.S. Disney+ subscribers, that would mean that you’d have an 884,035% increase ((34,720,000-3,927)/3,927*100) in the number of screens Soul had the potential to be shown on during the opening day — Wow! This is the power of DTC.
Of course, not every one of the people that watched Soul on Disney+ wouldn’t have attended the theaters on the opening weekend, but with DTC, every home theater was virtually packed. I’m sure the number of streaming minutes has tapered off as the holiday weekend carried on, but we’ll be interested to see what numbers Nielsen continues to report for Soul in January.
Pete Docter and crew have made yet another film which, although it cannot be measured in historical box-office terms, definitely captured the attention of audiences across the United States — Congratulations again to the team.
INTERNATIONAL BOX OFFICE
Outside of North America, Soul was able to be released within countries that reopened their theaters. In its opening weekend, Soul netted $7,275,155 within the twelve countries reporting opening weekend numbers. International box office totals are now at $57,400,000 (numbers via Box Office Mojo).
Let’s hope that once theaters open in North America again, we’ll be able to watch it on the big screen. There is definitely a proven audience who watched it at home.