Disney+’s animated film "Raya and the Last Dragon" saw a massive viewership increase. "US viewers spent 1.08 billion minutes watching the movie from 4th June to 6th June, its first weekend as a "free" title on the streaming service," Nielsen said.
"Raya" was initially released in March simultaneously in theaters and as a "Premier Access" movie on Disney+, in which subscribers paid an additional $30 to watch. The film is the most-watched movie in the US among Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu from May 31 to June 6. The movie became available to stream at no extra fee for Disney+ subscribers on 4th June.
When "Raya" debuted on Disney+ in March, it received 355 million watching minutes in its first weekend and 390 million minutes in its first full week on the service as a Premier Access title. It declined to 203 million minutes in its second full week. The numbers are a stark contrast to the movie's first "free" weekend. The title also opened at the box office with a lower-than-expected $8.6 million domestically in March. It ultimately gained some momentum and earned $54 million in North America and $120 million worldwide.
Disney has used the strategy on other movies during the pandemic, including last year's "Mulan" remake and the upcoming Marvel movie, "Black Widow." Other data from March also suggested "Raya" underwhelmed as a Premier Access title, at least compared to "Mulan." "Raya" received 20% fewer purchases on Disney+ in the US over its opening weekend than "Mulan" did during its first weekend, according to the analytics company Antenna, which pulls from a variety of opt-in panels like budgeting apps to track purchase and transaction data.’