Warner Bros.’ The Many Saints of Newark has finally arrived, much to the delight of longtime Sopranos fans. Of course, with the simultaneous theatrical/streaming release model WarnerMedia has been using for its 2021 releases, the film also became available to stream on HBO Max (for 31 days) starting this past Friday. Recent reports have now provided a better idea of how the long-awaited prequel performed during its opening weekend. And it looks like a lot of people tuned in for the dramatic mobster tale.
HBO Max doesn’t formally release viewership numbers but, thanks to analytics system Samba TV (via Deadline), we know that The Many Saints of Newark was watched by one million households over its debut weekend. This number places the movie ahead of a number of adult-centric films that have hit the streamer this year. The movie surpasses titles like the Hugh Jackman-led thriller Reminiscence (which garnered 842,000 households during its opening weekend), James Wan’s Malignant (with 753,000) and Clint Eastwood drama Cry Macho (693,000). The only film it could not best was Denzel Washington’s The Little Things, which premiered in January to 1.4 million households.
WarnerMedia’s strategy has been controversial, having caused significant drama between the company and some of its longtime collaborators like Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve. Even David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos and the co-writer of the new movie, took issue with the streaming release. Chase’s frustration stemmed from the fact that he was eager for fans to see the franchise on the big screen after having watched it on HBO for years.
Some did venture out to their local theaters to see the movie though probably not as many as the writer/producer and WB would’ve liked. The film earned $5 million during its first weekend, placing it in the #4 box office spot. Ahead of it were Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million), The Addams Family 2 ($18 million) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($6 million).
Directed by Alan Taylor, The Many Saints of Newark takes place during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, decades before the events of the iconic TV series. The previously unseen Dickie Moltisanti takes the lead, as he engages in a war with former associate Harold McBrayer. Watching Moltisanti’s every move is the young and impressionable Tony Soprano, who’s still years from becoming the feared mob boss James Gandolfini played for six seasons. The film also features a number of other returning characters played by franchise newcomers like Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal and Corey Stoll.
The Sopranos prequel has mostly been well received by both fans and critics. CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell praised the film, naming it a worthy return to David Chase’s fictional universe. Fans will also be excited to know that it contains a number of sweet Easter eggs and, by the end of it, they may be looking at this world in a somewhat different light.
Regardless of the viewing experience that was preferred, it’s clear that this flick is making a serious impression from a streaming standpoint. Taking into account the franchise’s massive fanbase, it may continue to find solid viewership before it leaves the streamer.
The Many Saints of Newark is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max until October 31.
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