HBO Max, Disney+ see bump in app downloads with film debuts

Christopher Palmeri

AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max streaming platform set a single-day record for downloads of its mobile app following the release of the superhero sequel “Wonder Woman 1984,” from the company’s Warner Bros. studio.

An estimated 554,000 users signed up for the app from Friday to Sunday, including a record 244,000 downloads on Sunday alone, according to the market-research firm Apptopia. While mobile devices are just one entry point for customers using a streaming service, the data provides a way to measure traffic. HBO Max’s total mobile users now stand at just under 12 million, Apptopia said.

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Gal Gadot in a scene from "Wonder Woman 1984." The superhero sequel earned an estimated $38.5 million in ticket sales from international theaters, Warner Bros. said Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. via AP)

Meanwhile, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ streaming service had about 2.3 million global installations of its mobile app over the Christmas holiday, a 28% increase from the prior weekend, according to the market-research firm Sensor Tower.

The Pixar animated feature “Soul,” which was released on Disney+ on Christmas Day, took in about $7.6 million in its theatrical debut in several international markets, including China.

The weekend will be closely analyzed by Hollywood executives and investors because studios decided to release two big films, “Wonder Woman” and “Soul,” on their streaming services on the same day they were released in cinemas. “Wonder Woman” took in $16.7 million in domestic theaters over the weekend. AT&T’s WarnerMedia said nearly half of the customers who have subscribed to HBO Max directly from the company watched the film on the day of its release.

Apptopia and Sensor Tower tally only downloads of the companies’ mobile apps. Disney+ has about 87 million global subscribers overall, while HBO Max, which is available only in the U.S., has had 12.6 million account activations.

Investors largely perceive the dual theater-and-streaming strategy as a success. Shares of Cinemark Holdings Inc. rallied Monday, though AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. reversed earlier gains, and Disney stock hit a new high.