‘The Many Saints of Newark’ Was A Flowing Hit And Supporter For ‘Sopranos’
While the movie’s theatrical release last weekend took in $4.6 million at the domestic box office, its performance continued HBO Max It underscores an important advantage that the WarnerMedia platform has over its competitors – the ability to revive its deep seats of culture-defining adult misrepresentation.
The origin story behind young Tony Soprano and his father’s character Dicky Multisanti, “Many Saints” ended last weekend as the best movie title on HBO Max — achieving more than three times the audience for the next most-watched title, the broadcast said. The film also outperformed other similar films within its budget range, including recent releases such as Hugh Jackman’s “Reminiscence” and Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho” (both poorly performed at the pandemic-stricken box office).
More interesting, perhaps, is that the 15-year-old “Soprano” broke HBO Max records for weekly viewing of a series, and received the highest daily viewership in the service’s history last Sunday. The Emmy-winning show, fronted by the late James Gandolfini, was up 65% over the course of the week as “Many Saints” became available to subscribers. As with all streaming devices, exact viewership was not available and could not be independently verified.
“We knew there was going to be an interaction, but we were surprised. The Sopranos series is very popular. It pops in and out of the top 10 from time to time, and it’s not as overwhelming as ‘Friends’ in terms of breadth, but it does very well,” Andy Forsell, Vice President The CEO and General Manager of WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer diverse.
The CEO added that New Line Cinema’s “Many Saints” provided the opportunity “for people to introduce the series, or in many cases remake it. It was the highest-grossing ‘Sopranos’ week ever on duty. I’m not Shocked at it, but quite amazed that he topped that much so quickly.”
While much of the conversation this year around HBO Max has been about WarnerMedia’s seismic decision to release all Warner Bros. Pictures of 2021 simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, the release of “Many Saints” and the blessing of “The Sopranos” are a case study of how the company is leveraging its creative assets.
Read on for a Q&A with Forssell:
Many Saints in Newark were green before HBO Max’s Today and Date strategy came out. Did you know ahead of time that it would have this kind of double effect?
I think no matter what the day-to-day strategy is, it just doesn’t make sense for us to get emotional about it. People want more sopranos in whatever way David feels there is a good story. We were really excited long before that, but it really fits the day and date. All the intricacies in getting to the strategy I imposed this year, we want people to see that. Many have seen it in theaters, many more have seen it in service and will continue to see it in service. It really fits in this context.
Opening weekend ended with your announcement that David Chase has signed a new creative deal. What can we expect?
I’ve heard a few ideas but nothing we can talk about publicly about other than that he’s got the right to realize any ideas he has, and we’re excited to see him do it.
To touch on marketing, the campaign for this movie added the phrase “The Sopranos Story” to the title a few weeks before the release. Was this intentional and did it affect performance?
There was a rise in marketing because it was really helpful and a proper framing of it [Warner Bros. worldwide marketing head] Josh Goldstein’s team. I have a large content marketing organization formerly known as HBO, and they work closely with Josh. We drive a lot of what we call “growth science.” Like, how do you use data to be really smart about how you publish media? How do we test loops and do them there? That piece that I saw was some great creativity from Josh and the team that really paid off. Really simple framing.
“Many Saints” is very close to the original movie while still tied to a major television property. Obviously, you are dealing with many distinct libraries. Is the biggest strategy to exploit these?
It is in the eye of the beholder. There is a large audience that agrees that the HBO cast has decades of muscle memory, and they do what they do very well. It’s an interesting mix where we have the HBO library and everything it represents, and then we have the Warner Bros. TV library. We feel very lucky. It makes weeks like this so much fun because there are so many ardent fans of “The Sopranos,” but this show It was discovered by high school and college students Immediately. Not sure why. “Friends” swept middle school a decade ago, and it’s interesting to see these things happen.
In terms of participation, there is also a game built for die-hard Sopranos fans to select the younger versions of their favorite characters in “Many Saints”.
That’s one fun thing about this. Obviously, to an extent, it’s an origin story for Tony and by the end of the movie you understand a lot about how he became what he became. But in the end, she’s a great character in Dickie Multisanti. It is so much fun to draw lines through the generations. It could have been done as a cartoon, but David got around to it pretty well.
What does a movie like “Many Saints” mean for what HBO Max considers an original movie?
In the traditional theatrical world, studios support films that either win or lose. In our world, there is an element of that, we want the title to be great and we want it to perform. But it’s also part of our day and date list this year. Our viewers obviously voted to come to the list, and there are some titles that drew them in, but the list alone is a reason for them to stay. At the end of the year the triumph will begin, there are no more 17 or 18 films, just the tail. But we’ve seen it clearly and “Many Saints” fit into that as a big part of the mix. The list has been hugely invaluable to us, especially in a year when SVOD and all TV had new shows hitting any light service due to the shadow of the COVID production shutdown. The movie list has value.
Another angle to look at is the interaction between a great movie like this and a long series like “The Sopranos”. As users, we love those characters and those worlds. Sometimes we just sit down and record two or three hours into a well-told story. There are other times when what we want is a service that will provide us with several weeks or months of enjoying something casual. “Many Saints” ranked first – by a wide margin – as the largest title in the service. This is a great combination and will last for weeks, so it will have longer legs due to this interaction.