The Crown repeated atop the chart with more than 2.2 billion total minutes of viewing from November 23 to 30. The Nielsen chart, which operates on a lengthy delay, measures only the viewing occurring in the U.S. via a TV screen. (See the full top 10 below.)
In Chronicles 2, which drew a robust 1.5 billion minutes of streaming, Kurt Russell reprised his role as Santa Claus and Goldie Hawn returned as Mrs. Claus. Chris Columbus, known for hits like Home Alone, directed. Even though it didn’t finish No. 1, the film’s showing was unusually strong.
Series, given their sheer volume, are by definition viewed more than feature films on streaming platforms, but films can be effective drivers of interest and awareness. The first Christmas Chronicles was streamed by more than 20 million subscriber households in its first week of release in 2018, Netflix said at the time, with Co-CEO Ted Sarandos likening the bow to a $200 million box office haul.
As Deadline has reported, Netflix and Cinemark agreed on a test release of Christmas Chronicles 2, putting it on the No. 3 exhibitor’s screens for one week ahead of its November 25 streaming debut. No box office figures or other test results have been released as of yet, consistent with the pattern for even the broadest-playing Netflix releases.
Virgin River, another Netflix original, gave the streaming giant a third strong entry for the week, with 1.3 billion minutes of watch time.
The Thanksgiving holiday, especially with this year’s Covid-19 shutdowns and travel restrictions, saw a burst of overall streaming activity. For the first time since Nielsen started issuing its weekly gauge of streaming last summer, the top six titles on the Nielsen list all surpassed 1 billion viewing minutes.
Hillbilly Elegy had a subdued holiday week, with 787 million minutes of viewing. The Ron Howard-directed adaptation of J.D. Vance’s non-fiction best-seller stars Amy Adams and Glenn Close. It began streaming on Netflix on November 24, the day before The Christmas Chronicles 2, but still managed about half of the streaming minutes of the Santa sequel. Critics have not been kind, with the film rating a 39% on Metacritic and just 27% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Disney’s Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian retained the No. 4 spot and was the only non-Netflix title in the Top 10. Unlike Netflix, Disney+ generally releases shows one episode at a time, so there were 13 total episodes of the show available during Thanksgiving week and its buzzy Season 2 finale still weeks away.
Here are Nielsen’s full weekly rankings, with available episodes for series and rounded viewing minute totals:
The Crown – 40 eps., 2.2B min.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 – film, 1.5B min.
Virgin River – 20 eps., 1.3B min.
The Mandalorian – 13 eps., 1.2B min.
The Office – 192 eps., 1.1B min.
The Queen’s Gambit – 7 eps, 1.1B min.
Hillbilly Elegy – film, 787M min.
Grey’s Anatomy – 363 eps., 750M min.
Criminal Minds – 277 eps., 713M min.
Schitt’s Creek – 80 eps., 697M min.
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