Which Disney+ Programs Were the Most-Watched in 2022?
Disney+ brings so much joy into our lives. Virtually the entire library of Disney content is available at the click of a button or tap of a screen.
Still, some titles stand apart in the eyes of Disney fans. Here are the most popular Disney+ programs of 2022.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Something you’ll notice about this list is the prevalence of titles from four different Disney categories.
Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney animation dominate the list. And I haven’t cherry-picked these selections, either.
Each week, Nielsen posts the streaming ratings for three categories: movies, original television series, and acquired series.
All the titles we’ll discuss finished on Nielsen’s streaming charts for at least one full month out of calendar 2022. Some placed on the charts most weeks.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness narrowly edged Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first spot on our list. It charted four times and even won one week.
Since tens of millions more people subscribe to Netflix than Disney+, any Disney victory borders on miraculous.
All the people who waited to watch the Doctor Strange sequel at home quickly devoured it.
Something similar happened with Lightyear, which also became the most watched streaming movie during its first full week of availability.
These two examples underscore Disney’s delicate balance with its recent releases.
The company tries to increase its streaming subscriber numbers by showing theatrical releases on Disney+ only six weeks after they debut in theaters.
With Lightyear, a small number of fans watched the Toy Story origin tale in theaters. However, they passionately embraced the film on Disney+.
The following four titles embody Disney CEO Bob Iger’s strategy for acquiring popular or soon-to-be popular franchises.
She-Hulk is one of five different Marvel/Star Wars titles to finish among the top 12 Disney+ programs for 2022.
The story of a lawyer/superheroine appealed to all Marvel fans but also exemplified Kevin Feige’s admission of past mistakes.
During the early phases of the MCU, female empowerment was just something Feige gave lip service. In 2022, Disney followed through with its promise.
In fact, Ms. Marvel also finished in the top 15 for the year, charting several times on Nielsen’s Original TV Shows weekly list.
Here’s the most successful Marvel Disney+ show of the year, although that statement comes with an asterisk.
Moon Knight debuted early in the year, giving it more opportunities for fans to watch.
Of course, the real appeal of Moon Knight stemmed from its mystery.
Nobody quite knew what to expect, and many still aren’t quite sure what happened.
Disney introduced several new characters into the MCU, including the first Egyptian superheroine, Scarlet Scarab.
Also, there was, like, a hippo goddess or something…
Moon Knight was pretty wild.
The Book of Boba Fett
When Empire Strikes Back came out, a generation of Star Wars fans found a new antihero to love.
Theoretically, Boba Fett’s story ended when the bounty hunter found himself being eternally consumed by a space sandworm. It was all very Dune.
However, The Book of Boba Fett retcons that premise by providing the bounty hunter with the most improbable of escapes…so that he could appear in a seven-episode Disney+ series.
The popularity of the character made the show’s success a foregone conclusion. A few unexpected plot devices didn’t hurt any, either.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story left one of its characters in a similar predicament to Boba Fett.
Cassian Andor, one of the noble protagonists of that story, died during the story’s climactic moments.
Disney obviously didn’t care if any of its Star Wars characters were dead this year, though. After all, three different dead dudes starred in their own series this year.
Remarkably, Andor proved the most popular of the bunch, which comes down to two things. It’s the best of the bunch from a quality perspective.
Also, Andor season one features the most episodes with 12. So, it takes longer to binge and thereby claims more viewer minutes to complete.
But more importantly, it’s really good.
As far as catalog television programming goes, Disney+ has three shows that dominate viewer minutes more than the rest.
One is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which also finished in the top 15 for the year. We’ll discuss another in the top two.
Then, there’s The Simpsons or, as Iger would describe it, the anchor program of the Fox acquisition.
Disney+ hosts more than 700 episodes of the series, which gives subscribers plenty of options to watch their favorite Springfield residents.
I’m here to tell you that season 25 is the best of the bunch, though!
Here’s an example of Disney making the most out of a bad situation.
The company fully intended to give Turning Red a theatrical release.
Unfortunately, the universe had other plans, as a wave of COVID-19 infections forced a change in plans.
Local and federal governments enforced socially distancing policies once more, causing Turning Red to skip its run at movie theaters.
Disney+ fans benefited from the decision, as we got to watch this delightful movie free on streaming. It proved wildly popular at first and hung around the charts for a while.
If you haven’t watched Turning Red, it’s an ideal family film this holiday season.
Here’s the ultimate hidden gem.
Moana’s popularity works as something of a secret to non-parents.
If you don’t have a child, you probably liked/loved Moana but haven’t thought about it much lately.
Well, you might have listened to the soundtrack, but that’s it, right?
For Disney parents, Moana means something much different. It’s almost a rite of passage for s generation of Disney fans.
Moana characters on Nielsen’s top 10 Streaming movies for more than one-third of 2022. It wasn’t a string of consecutive weeks or anything, either.
Moana is always lurking toward the bottom of the top ten most-watched streaming movies. Always. Remarkably, it’s not the only Disney movie that does this, either.
Hocus Pocus 2
If you’ve read MickeyBlog, this one’s not a surprise in the least.
Hocus Pocus 2 recently broke the record for the most streaming minutes of viewers in a single week.
During its first three days in release, Hocus Pocus 2 claimed 2.7 billion (with a b) minutes of viewing.
Also, this seems like a good time to mention that Nielsen streaming data comes with several blind spots.
For this reason, the actual number of minutes Disney+ viewers watched Hocus Pocus 2 that week was MUCH higher.
Disney fans aren’t the least bit surprised by this, as Hocus Pocus has grown synonymous with Halloween movie season.
In fact, the first film reached the top 10 multiple times in September and October. It was also one of the streaming service’s top 25 programs for 2022.
Parents are nodding their heads and sighing in resignation. They know that their most reliable babysitter is this Australian cartoon.
Disney+ acquired the rights to Bluey and has aired the program since the service’s inception.
Whenever you load Disney+, you should glance at the Trending section.
You’ll notice that Bluey is almost always there. It’s THE most popular catalog title on the service, even over The Simpsons.
In fact, Bluey charted on Nielsen’s Acquired TV Shows list for nearly half the weeks of 2022.
Nobody ever believes me when I say this, but Encanto is legitimately one of Disney’s biggest blockbusters ever.
The reality is that people are still learning the new ways to evaluate hit programs in the still-evolving streaming era.
What they know is that Disney released Encanto in theaters, and it performed about the same as Onward. Nobody’s called Onward a hit (although it’s terrific).
However, such trite evaluations of Encanto ignore something essential. The film didn’t cease to exist once it exited theaters.
In truth, that was merely the start of a historic run. During the first part of 2022, Encanto finished in first place in Nielsen’s Movie ratings for 10 straight weeks.
The only reason why Encanto didn’t last longer is that another Disney release, Turning Red, temporarily knocked it off the top of the charts.
Encanto later returned to its position of dominance. Ultimately, it was the most watched streaming movie during 16 different weeks in 2022.
Moreover, Encanto placed in the top 10 for 36 weeks thus far in 2022. It’s an absolute juggernaut, whether people realize that fact or not.
I describe Encanto as the Titanic of streaming movies, and I totally mean that.
Titanic finished in first place at the box office for a total of 15 weeks. Encanto has done the same thing on streaming…for 16 weeks. It’s massive, folks.
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