The most watched Disney+ shows – The Hollywood Reporter



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In the two and a half years that Disney+ has been around, it has released a somewhat light amount of original script programming right off the bat Star Wars and Marvel franchises. The two have only combined nine seasons into eight series — six live-action and two animated — for a total of 75 episodes.

still a Hollywood reporter analysis of viewing data for the streamer shows that those Marvel and Star Wars shows are arguably the biggest draw of Disney+ original series.

While the number of shows and episodes isn’t very high – due in part to pandemic-related production stoppages shortly after Disney+’s launch – the streamer has a Marvel or Star Wars series with almost continuous new episodes since season two of The Mandalorian premiere in October 2020.

Those eight shows are the only Disney+ series to have made Nielsen’s streaming top 10 in the service’s history. Disney movies — including charmwhich has been at the top of the rating provider’s streaming movie chart for 10 weeks – had a strong presence in the rankings and library shows such as bluey and The Simpsons sometimes crack the top 10 acquired series.

But none of Disney+’s other original series — including High School Musical: The Musical: The SeriesGreat shot and The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers — has had the attraction of Star Wars and Marvel.

Source: Nielsen.

Together, Lucasfilm’s six live-action shows (The Mandalorian and Boba Fett’s book) and Marvel Studios (WandaVisionThe Falcon and the Winter SoldierLoki and hawk eye) generated nearly 36 billion minutes of watch time in the weeks the original episodes aired. All six series comfortably remained in the top 10 throughout their runs, but only stopped in the weeks following their season finale, when they racked up several billion more minutes of viewing (and, of course, were further watched at levels above 10th in the Nielsen rankings).

Animated Series What if… from Marvel and Star Wars: The Bad Batch made seven appearances in the streaming rankings during their runs from May to October. Those seven weeks together accounted for about 2 billion minutes of viewing time.

From the live action series, The Mandalorian is the clear leader. Nielsen’s year-end streaming chart for 2021 said Disney+ users watched approximately 14.5 billion minutes of the series over the course of the year, with the majority (8.4 billion) debuting in the eight weeks that season two debuted.

More remarkable is how the first season performed. The Mandalorian premiered on day one of Disney+, November 12, 2019. By the end of the first quarter, Disney had 26.5 million worldwide subscribers. Previously undisclosed Nielsen figures for season one indicate that the series amassed 5.42 billion minutes of watch time over the seven-week run, peaking at 1.15 billion during the week the finale premiered. It added 800 million extra minutes in the week after the final. To capture so much viewer interest with the relatively small subscriber base at the time illustrates how eager Disney+ users (who now total 43 million in the US and Canada alone) were to see the first live-action Star Wars series.

None of the Marvel shows have been surpassed either Mandalorian season in terms of total watch time, though Loki came close during its first season in June and July. The six-episode season pulled in 5.23 billion minutes of watch time and was the first (and only to date) Marvel series to exceed 1 billion minutes in a single week. Due to the smaller delivery order, Loki had the highest average watch time of all Marvel of Star Wars series, with just under 872 million minutes per episode in its six weeks.

The Six Episode Falcon and the winter soldier ranks second with 692 million minutes per episode (4.15 billion total), ahead of season one of The Mandalorian (677.5 million minutes per episode). The most recent Marvel series, hawk eye, had the smallest total watch time of its brethren, coming in at 3.46 billion minutes during its original run. The second Star Wars series, Boba Fett’s bookdrew steadily increasing numbers (with one dip in week three) during its seven episodes and totaled 4.4 billion minutes despite mediocre reviews.

The four Marvel series to date have focused on characters with strong ties to the company’s film universe. That changes with Moon Knight (March 30) and Mrs. Marvel (June 8), which could be challenging for an audience not steeped in Marvel Comics knowledge. Obi-Wan Kenobi (May 25), in which a loved one is central Star Wars character, probably won’t have that problem. But all three series will likely be the biggest shows Disney+ will run in the next quarter.

This story first appeared in the March 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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