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The Many Saints of Newark debuted last Friday to mixed reviews. Sopranos’ fans praised Michael Gandolfini’s portrayal of young Tony Soprano, while critics pounded the film’s convoluted storyline. On the commercial side, Saints again drew a mixed reaction.
The film earned a mediocre $5 million during its first weekend at the box office, behind 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). While disappointing, most viewers watched Saints on HBO Max as opposed to the theaters.
According to the analytics system Samba TV, one million households streamed the Many Saints of Newark over its debut weekend. Here is how Saints’ opening weekend compared to other new films on HBO Max this year:
- The Little Things, 1.4 million households,
- Reminiscence, 842,000
- Malignant, 753,000
- Cry Macho, 693,000
For the Breaking Bad vs. Sopranos crowd — like myself — Saints opening weekend is a win for Team Breaking Bad. El Camino, the film that followed the events following Breaking Bad, debuted to 6.5 million people over its first weekend in 2019 on Netflix. In part, El Camino’s lead over Saints is due to Netflix’s advantages over HBO Max, but that’s only a quarter of the story.
El Camino was the better movie. Sopranos holds the lead over Breaking Bad on the all-time list, but BB took the spinoff film category rather easily.
Despite the issues with the Many Saints of Newark, HBO will come away viewing it as a solid addition to HBO Max. Meaning, the network may not close the door on the Sopranos universe yet. Last week, WarnerMedia announced that it had signed Sopranos creator David Chase to a five-year deal. Before the agreement, Chase had expressed interest in a sequel to this prequel movie, this time following Tony Soprano’s rise.