Disney and Marvel took a big risk when they brought the Marvel Cinematic Universe to streaming services and incorporated TV series into the mix. A year later, and five series in, the new formula has proven successful as millions of viewers streamed the new series over the course of the year. Nearly a week after the premiere of the fifth and final series for 2021, Hawkeye is producing some odd statistics that surely have the Marvel and Disney execs scratching their heads.
According to the latest streaming viewership stats from Samba TV as reported by Deadline the first two episodes of Marvel’s Hawkeye trailed Loki viewership rates by 40 percent. In fact, the new series bolstered the weakest start to Marvel’s streaming series, with only 1.5 million households streaming the first episode in its first five days. In comparison, Marvel’s first venture into the world of television with WandaVision attracted 1.6 million households, Falcon and the Winter Soldier brought in 1.8 million, and Loki topped the chart with a staggering 2.5 million views in the series’ first five days.
The weak ratings for Hawkeye come as a big shock to many, as the ratings for the first two episodes have been through the roof. Rotten Tomatoes even gave the series a critic rating of 93 percent, the highest of any of the five Marvel series. And with critics praising the chemistry between newcomer Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner, we are left contemplating what the bigger issue is.
It’s worth pointing out the timing conflicts that may have led to less streaming of the series. Hawkeye’s release date clashed with Thanksgiving Holidays, and there’s a possibility that family time, travel, and football viewerships may have skewed the ratings. But the timing challenges don’t account for everything, and it’s clear that something else may have accounted for the staggering difference in views from one Marvel series to another.
So how exactly did a show starring an on-again-off-again villain manage to beat out that of a series following one of the only founding Avengers left? It might be the setup of the storyline, as Loki clearly touted the higher stakes plot with the introduction to the multiverse. On the other hand, while marketing has been just as widespread for Hawkeye as Marvel’s predecessor series, the plot has been lost in the jumble of watching Hawkeye get “too old” for his job, as the entire series feels more like an introduction to a new character, rather than one with a substantial plot so far.
Luckily, we still have four more episodes of Hawkeye which hopefully will produce higher ratings than the first two episodes. We’ve been introduced and acclimated to Kate Bishop, and we have a glimpse into the dark underbelly of New York City’s crime lords. Likewise, with plenty of rumors and theories being thrown around the internet for what’s to come for the duo archers, there’s also hope that Florence Pugh as Yelena from Black Widow will make an appearance, as we last saw her being told that Hawkeye was the one that killed her sister.