Who Won the Weekend: Red Notice vs Disney+ Day?

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As we head into the new year—somehow, we’re in the 22nd year of 21st century—I’m pondering changes to this streaming ratings report. The biggest idea on deck is to split it into two parts, one film and one TV. So we’re going to try it this week, since the Nielsen ratings were late anyways.

Does this sound like a good idea to you? I’d love to know, so shoot me an email, tweet or comment and let me know what you think.

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Netflix datecdotes, Top Ten lists, Google Trends and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of November 8th to November 14th.)


To celebrate it’s second birthday on 12-Nov, Disney+ celebrated with “Disney+ Day”, launching a slew of new shows and films and revealing trailers, teasers and more. (Though, as several websites noted, the reception seemed to be more muted than compared to Disney’s Investor Relations day last year.)

Not to be outdone, or maybe to spoil the party, Netflix released their biggest film of the year, Red Notice, starring A-List stars The Rock, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds. 

So who won in this monumental showdown?

If you’re Netflix, you’d say you won the weekend, and the numbers would back you up. Red Notice is Netflix’s biggest film to date by total hours viewed. Since they now release an updated “most popular films list” each week, we know this in near real time:

Yep, at 364 million hours viewed, a film has finally passed Bird Box for the top spot in Netflix’s global rankings!

Of course, this streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. How did Red Notice do there? Very well. It launched as the second biggest title to date in Nielsen’s rankings, with 30.7 million hours viewed. (Remember, Nielsen started releasing public rankings after 2018’s Bird Box. Well after, in fact, August of 2020.)

If you’re Disney, though, you’d respond to Netflix, “This competition was Red Notice vs ‘Disney+Day’!” If you phrase it like that, technically Disney+ launched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Jungle Cruise (not “The” Jungle Cruise as I keep forgetting to type) and Home Sweet Alone Home. (Along with a bunch of TV shows.) Technically, Shang-Chi’s 17.9 million, Jungle Cruise’s 15.1 million and Home Sweet Home Alone’s 3.6 million add up to 36.6 million. Since that’s greater than 30.7 million, Disney+ wins!

Here’s the table of Disney films released since Covid started, comparing the PVOD window to streaming:

Honestly, though, no one has to win. They can both we winners. In this case, Red Notice, Shang Chi and Jungle Cruise combined to make one of the most successful weeks in film we’ve had yet. As Nielsen noted, this is the first time since Christmas that four films appeared in the overall top ten this week, and together those films in the top ten overall list generated 74.5 million hours of viewing, the second most on record.

Narrowing in on Home Sweet Home Alone, I do wonder how well it would have done well in theaters. In today’s box office (with Omicron worries abounding), probably not. Then again, with only 3.6 million hours viewed in week 1, good for the 83rd spot out of 116 first run films in my data set, it’s not like it set streaming on fire either. Let’s see how many weeks it lasts on the Nielsen rankings before passing judgement.

As I’ve written a few times, I know lots of folks are clamoring for a definitive take on Disney’s and HBO Max’s PVOD/day-and-date experiments. But if you want easy answers, go see a fortune teller. Whereas Red Notice obviously did well, Shang-Chi was only slightly smaller and has $417 million in worldwide box office to its name. (And no China box office either!) Really, Netflix and Disney can declare victory with their viewership totals, but we’ll still need more data to understand the financial implications.

(I’d add, you may have seen some ridiculously bad math out there comparing Red Notice to Avengers: Endgame. This math is so bad I’ll debunk it in a future article.)

Quick Notes on Film

– Paramount released Clifford the Big Red Dog in theaters and day-and-date on Paramount+. Did they provide specific data on how well it did? Of course not, but they did greenlight a sequel to the $51 million global box office earner. And announced that–along with a good TV slate, see tomorrow’s article–they had a great week in subscriber growth:

– Don’t sleep on Black Widow. It’s now made the Nielsen lists for six weeks in its “Pay 1/SVOD” window, after appearing for three weeks back in July during its PVOD run.

The Harder They Fall had a steep drop into its second week, going from 19.9 million hours to 9.4 million in week two.

– Good for Passing to make the Nielsen ratings with 3.9 million hours viewed. (Released on Wednesday 10-Nov.) If you’ve been reading me, you’ll know that most Oscar films fail to generate meaningful hours viewed, often missing the ratings charts entirely. Now that Nielsen releases a separate movie top ten list, we’ll have better insight into how Netflix and Prime Video’s prestige titles perform, though I doubt many crack the overall Nielsen Top Ten.

– The random title of the week on the Netflix Top 10 lists is Seized, a low-budget action film starring, among others, Mario Van Peebles and Scott Adkins with a 5.3 rating on 2K reviews. Released on Netflix on 9-Nov, it stayed on the Netflix Top Ten lists for two weeks.

– The “Dog Not Barking” of the Week is Prime Video’s Oscar bait The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. This isn’t the only Benedict Cumberbatch 19th century-themed Oscar film for this awards season, so we’ll see if Netflix fares any better.

– The biggest DNB candidate this week again goes to Prime Video. Bravo at their ability to anonymously launch these films. This week their contender is a documentary called Mayor Pete on, you guessed it, Pete Buttigieg. It was released on 12-Nov and missed the Nielsen charts this week.


As I mentioned above, three apps compete to help folks find streaming shows to watch. One of these, Just Watch, sent this fun chart showing the most popular streamer by usage on their app by country:

So yes, the streamer with the most global subscribers leads in most countries. But interestingly, not India, where Disney’s Fox acquisition, which came with Hotstar gives them the lead.

Check in tomorrow for the TV side of the house, the datecdote of the week, and the coming soon section.

(As always, sign up for my newsletter to get all my columns, streaming ratings reports, and articles in your inbox.)


The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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