Luck Luck

How is success defined for straight-to-streaming animated features? The metrics by which an Apple film is judged certainly can’t be the same as those of an original on Netflix, Prime Video, or HBO Max.

Julia Alexander at insider industry newsletter Puck recently collected the little available streaming data there is for Apple’s first Skydance Animation original feature Luck, and compared it to what we know about animated films from other platforms to decide whether or not the film was a success for Apple TV+.

Questions about relative success of a straight-to-streaming film are harder to answer for Apple originals than for those of its competitors. The streamer is one of the only major global platforms that refuses to disclose how many subscribers it has, and it doesn’t share streaming data for individual titles. Most analysts think that somewhere around 25 million people subscribe to the service.

More broadly though, there is some data available that we can work with. We do know that Luck never made it into Nielsen’s Top 10 streaming chart. So, it wasn’t a hit on par with a film like Netflix’s The Sea Beast, which managed to reach number two on the list, only surpassed at the time by Stranger Things.

Nielsen Sea Beast

According to further Nielsen data acquired by Alexander, 2.2 million Apple customers (aged two or older) watched Luck in the U.S. in its first week on Apple TV+. For an Apple original, that’s a decent performance and better than any of the previous five films released on the platform.

While 2.2 million might be a strong number for an Apple original, it’s a small fraction of what movies can accomplish on other, larger platforms. For instance, Pixar’s Lightyear, a historic box office flop for the studio, was viewed by around 12 million people in its first week on Disney+ in the U.S. And that was after a full theatrical release.

Part of what makes Luck so intriguing is the tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes drama that led up to its release. The film boasts a massive $140 million price tag, an A-list voice cast, is the first animated feature for Skydance Animation, is the first feature with John Lasseter as a producer since his high-profile Disney departure, and only managed mixed reviews from critics and audiences.

The conclusion seems to be that it would be harsh to consider Luck a flop, all things considered, but the film was a far cry from a hit. It did better than many of the platform’s other originals and set a solid groundwork for the future of Apple and Skydance to build on, but its larger impact was minimal, especially when compared to films that should be considered its peers.