Netflix has released Top 10 lists of its most popular titles of 2019 — movies, TV series and specials — in various territories. Netflix What We Watched 2019 – U.S. is led by the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy feature Murder Mystery, followed by the third season of mega hit series Stranger Things, the recently released Michael Bay movie 6 Underground headlined by Ryan Reynolds, Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles 2, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, new series The Witcher with Henry Cavill, the Ben Affleck starrer Triple Frontier, the Ted Bundy film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron, series The Umbrella Academy and movie The Highwaymen toplined by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson.
While Netflix does not officially reveal its methodology, the rankings are believed to be based on the number of accounts that have watched at least two minutes of a movie, TV series or a special — both original and acquired — during its first 28 days on Netflix in 2019. For series that air multiple seasons in one calendar year, only the most popular season is counted.
For recent releases, such as 6 Underground, which premiered December 13, The Witcher (December 20) Season 2 of You (December 26), which is on the Top 10 TV series list, and Season 2 of Lost In Space (December 24), on the Top 10 kids & family list, the ranking was based on 28-day projections derived from the initial sampling.
While The Witcher, referred to as Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones, was renewed ahead of its debut, You has not been picked up for Season 3. Its strong viewership (ranking as the streamer’s No. 5 most popular series of 2019) and strong social media presence (trending on Twitter worldwide for hours on release date) all but guarantee a renewal.
The same goes for freshman Raising Dion, #1 most popular kids and family series and #10 most popular series overall. It too is fully expected to be renewed for a second season.
There are some surprising omissions, including high-profile/buzzy series like Narcos, Ozark, The Crown, Elite, The Kominsky Method, Russian Doll, Atypical and Grace and Frankie.
Reassuring for Netflix, which is facing the loss of high-profile acquired programming as major Hollywood congloms are steering their owned content to their own streaming platforms, nine of the top 10 titles for 2019 are Netflix originals including Sundance acquisition Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The streamer’s biggest hit of 2019, Murder Mystery, stems from the game-changing four-movie deal it made with Sandler, which was then re-upped for four more.
There was also good news for Disney and its fledgling platform Disney+, which relies heavily on the Disney movie library. Underscoring the popularity of the Disney family films, two made the Top 10 Netflix movie list: The Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. They were among the last Disney titles to launch on Netflix as the Hollywood studio in August 2017 opted to end its distribution deal with the dominant streaming platform and start its own SVOD service.
It’s worth noting that half of the top 10 Netflix scripted TV series come from outside studios, UCP (Umbrella Academy, No. 3), CBS TV Studios (Dead To Me at No. 4 and Unbelievable No. 7), Warner Bros TV (You No. 5) and Paramount TV (13 Reasons Why No. 9).
Leading the Top 10 lists by category are Murder Mystery (film), Stranger Things 3 (TV series), Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (nonfiction), Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series (documentary), Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (comedy special), Indian kids animated series Mighty Little Bheem (international), and Raising Dion (family series).
Here are the full lists: