To say it’s been a strange year for movies would be a bit of an understatement—because, really, it’s been an unprecedented year for the entertainment industry. COVID-19 has shuttered the doors at virtually every movie theater around the world, leaving only our television sets for entertainment.
But, honestly, 2020 hasn’t been a such problem for Netflix NFLX . The previous decade’s most popular streaming platform has only gotten more popular this year, as people have looked to Netflix for new films each week (as opposed to movie theaters). Which meant that when a movie went viral on Netflix in 2020, it wasn’t just the most popular film in the digital realm—it was the most popular film in the world.
So as we look back on Netflix’s most popular movies this past year, we realize just how high the stakes have been. Because to make the 2020 Top 10 on Netflix also means to be one of the ten most viral movies in the world.
And which movies make up that top ten list? While Netflix keeps a tight wrap on download numbers, we’ve put together a points-based system that can help us gain a better idea. Each day, we record where a movie ranks on Netflix’s Daily Top 10 list. We then add those points up to see which movies have dominated the platform over a longer period of time.
In fact, we don’t just have the “Top 10” movies of 2020—we have the Top 50. So, according to our calculations, here are the 50 most popular movies on Netflix (so far) in 2020:
Building up to the Top 10:
50. Soul Surfer – 82 points
48. (tie) The Hangover – 83 points
48. (tie) Lost Girls – 83 points
45. (tie) The Babysitter: Killer Queen – 84 points
45. (tie) Due Date – 84 points
45. (tie) Da 5 Bloods – 84 points
44. The Last Days of American Crime – 87 points
43. Dangerous Lies – 90 points
42. Den of Thieves – 91 points
40. (tie) The Lovebirds – 92 points
40. (tie) 2012 – 92 points
38. (tie) John Henry – 93 points
38. (tie) Work It – 93 points
37. Coffee & Kareem – 94 points
36. Love, Guaranteed – 95 points
35. Life As We Know It – 96 points
31. (tie) The Nut Job – 98 points
31. (tie) Fatal Affair – 98 points
31. (tie) Feel the Beat – 98 points
31. (tie) The Smurfs – 98 points
30. Dennis the Menace – 101 points
27. (tie) Just Go With It – 102 points
27. (tie) How Do You Know – 102 points
27. (tie) Jurassic Park – 102 points
25. (tie) The Help – 103 points
25. (tie) Outbreak – 103 points
24. Pets United – 105 points
23. Drunk Parents – 108 points
22. Animal Crackers – 109 points
21. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – 110 points
20. Desperados – 114 points
19. The Platform – 117 points
17. (tie) Uncut Gems – 123 points
17. (tie) The Social Dilemma – 123 points
16. Space Jam – 126 points
15. Code 8 – 129 points
14. The Lost Husband – 135 points
13. The Kissing Booth 2 – 139 points
12. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – 141 points
11. The Willoughbys – 169 points
9. (tie) Project Power – 179 points
At one point in September, Project Power was on the verge of achieving the impossible. While it’s rare for a movie to spend more than ten consecutive days in first place on the Daily Top 10, Project Power pushed its streak all the way to 13. Alas, the movie was thwarted from the throne at some point and then quickly fell off the list. Still, the Jamie Foxx action vehicle put together enough points to crack the 2020 Top 10.
9. (tie) The Old Guard – 179 points
It seems insane that The Old Guard—yet another Netflix action flick with a huge budget and a bankable movie star at the center—wasn’t even the most popular movie of July. In the year’s seventh month, The Old Guard spent 14 days in either the #1 or #2 position on the Daily Top 10. In total, the Charlize Theron film ranked highly enough on all 23 days it spent on the charts to tie for the #9 spot on this list.
7. (tie) Angel Has Fallen – 182 points
One of the few non-Netflix Originals on this list, Angel Has Fallen proved that a newly released film can perform very well when made available to a wider audience. Back in April, Angel Has Fallen spent 25 consecutive days on the Daily Top 10 charts, which included three showings in the #1 slot. That allowed the action film to handily win the month of April on Netflix.
7. (tie) Extraction – 182 points
Just after Angel Has Fallen started to fall down the Netflix charts, Extraction stepped in to take care of business. This Chris Hemsworth project was one of four action films led by huge movie stars to make the 2020 Top 10, largely thanks to its six-day first-place stint on the Daily Top 10 back in late April. The showing helped Extraction rank ninth in the month of April and third in the month of May—and seventh on this yearly list.
6. The Lorax – 184 points
In any other month, The Old Guard would have controlled the Monthly Top 10 list. But The Lorax proved just how viral an animated film can be on Netflix after just edging out The Old Guard for the top spot in July. The Lorax only saw two days in the #1 position on the Daily Top 10, yet put together enough points in its 28 days on the charts to rank just ahead of The Old Guard. July was only the second month this year where two different movies garnered at least 170 points.
5. The Wrong Missy – 187 points
Easily Netflix’s most successful comedy in 2020, The Wrong Missy ran wild with the Top 10 charts this past spring. Back in May, the comedy hit became the second movie on Netflix to spend at least nine consecutive days in the #1 position. And in total between May and June, The Wrong Missy would capture 26 days on the Daily Top 10 charts. That allowed the David Spade comedy to easily accumulate more points than any other movie in the month of May.
4. Spenser Confidential – 236 points
Spenser Confidential might be in fourth place on this 2020 list, but you could easily argue that the Mark Wahlberg crime thriller had the most impressive Top 10 run this year. The film spent a ridiculous 18 consecutive days this past May atop the Daily Top 10 rankings—a streak that no other movie has come even close to matching. That allowed Spenser Confidential to take the top spot on the March Top 10 list.
3. 365 Days – 282 points
The movie of the summer wasn’t one anybody expected. 365 Days captured the internet by storm this past season, which allowed the Polish erotic film to catapult up both the monthly and yearly charts. In June, 365 Days became the third movie to accrue 200 points in a single month—which was enough to win the top spot in June. But then 365 Days would go on to finish in sixth place on the July Top 10 as well, all thanks to its 45-day streak on the daily charts. That’s the second-longest streak of any movie on Netflix this year.
2. The Angry Birds Movie 2 – 284 points
It’s hard to believe that the sequel to a movie based on an app would be the second-most popular movie on Netflix in 2020, but…well, here we are. Between February, March and April, The Angry Birds Movie 2 would spend 53 non-consecutive days on the Daily Top 10—which included eight days in the #1 position. That performance all0wed The Angry Birds Movie 2 to finish in second place in both February and March.
1. Despicable Me – 426 points
To say Despicable Me has been the most successful movie movie on Netflix this year doesn’t quite do the film justice. In the 163 days the animated classic has been part of the Netflix database this year, Despicable Me has made a whopping 111 appearances on the Daily Top 10. The next closest movie? The Angry Birds Movie 2 with 53 appearances. So as you can see, no movie has captured the Netflix audience in 2020 quite like Despicable Me has. The beloved animated film has finished in the Monthly Top 10 four different times in 2020, and finished in fifth place on the Summer Top 10.
Source: Forbes – Business