Smash hit or total turkey? In the age of streaming it’s impossible to tell

With the box office closed and only secretive viewing figures to go on, gauging a film’s success is becoming a tricky propositionHere’s a question: was Wonder Woman 1984 a hit movie? How did it compare to the first Wonder Woman? Or how about Soul, or Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom? Were they hits? How can we tell? In ordinary times we wouldn’t have to ask; we would have box-office figures to go by.

Now, the pandemic has hobbled cinema-going, and for most of us the only way to access new movies is via streaming services, which tend to guard their numbers as if they’re nuclear launch codes.

WW84, for example, got a limited cinema release but was mainly consumed in the US via HBO Max.

How did it do there? All Warners said was that it had “broken records and exceeded our expectations”.

If Hollywood is

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