2021's Top Streaming Movies is Only 60% New Releases

Nielsen has released its top streaming movies of 2021 and of the top 15 most-streamed movies last year, just over half of the titles were actual new releases. The other movies that made the list were favorites from the recent past, and among those, Disney+ dominated with a number of animated offerings. According to the data (via Deadline) eight of the top 15 streaming movies in 2021 were released that year and seven of the overall list seven were animated offerings on Disney+.

Disney's dominance of the list starts at the top with Pixar's Luca, followed by the 2016 film Moana, Raya and The Last Dragon, and 2019's Frozen 2. Netflix's Red Notice rounds out the top five, only for Disney to dominate again for the next batch of five starting with number six, 2013's Frozen, 2020's Soul, and Cruella. Netflix's The Mitchells Vs. The Machines comes in at number nine while Disney's Jungle Cruise rounds out the top 10. The final group of five is also Disney-dominated but does see Amazon make some headway. Number 11 belongs to Black Widow followed by Amazon's The Tomorrow War, then Pixar's 2017 film Coco, Netflix's 2020 film We Can Be Heroes, and then a second Marvel entry on the list with 2019's Avengers: Endgame rounding out the top 15.

As for the interesting mix of new releases and older favorites, looking at the list, some of the data makes sense. Fans preparing to watch Black Widow, for example, would probably revisit Avengers: Endgame while fans of Luca might also watch some other beloved Pixar films such as Soul and Coco. There's also the idea that, when it comes to movies released in 2021, there were arguably fewer releases even with film and television production picking up in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And, of course, the pandemic could be influencing the list in other ways, such as children and younger viewers perhaps spending more time watching movies on streaming than before or even simply viewers turning to favorite films for comfort in uncertain times.

What will be interesting is to compare this list, at least in terms of the new release versus existing release data, with the list for 2022 a year from now. So far, 2022 is shaping up to be a stacked year for new releases that will end up on streamers meaning that it is possible and even likely that we'll see a bit more new release dominance when the numbers breakdown for 2022.

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