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Netflix’s Most Popular Shows and Movies Ever, Ranked (According to Netflix)

Netflix is the biggest streaming service by number of subscribers. 


James Martin/CNET

Netflix launched a website in mid-November posting weekly charts of its most popular shows and movies, as well as a global ranking of all-time most watched titles. The charts are updated every week and ranked by the total number of hours that subscribers spent watching them. 

The rankings represent an unprecedented trove of data about what’s popular on Netflix, detailing the most popular titles in the last week not only globally but also for more than 90 individual countries. It is, by far, the most transparency that Netflix has ever adopted for its viewership. It will also help subscribers like you have a better grip on what’s most popular on the world’s biggest subscription streaming service. 

For years, Netflix was notoriously tight-lipped about its viewership. Beau Willimon — creator of House of Cards, which put Netflix’s original programming on the map — once said the company wouldn’t even share viewership metrics with him. 

But within the last two years, Netflix has become much more open about the popularity of its shows and movies to help it recruit talent and stoke buzz. First, Netflix added a top-trending ranking to its service, so people can see the most popular titles streaming on Netflix in their country on any given day. Then it also started publicly sharing popularity stats for certain titles, publicizing the number of accounts that watched two minutes of a particular title in its first month of release.

The company updates its weekly “Top 10 on Netflix” every Tuesday, based on hours viewed from Monday to Sunday the previous week for both original and licensed titles. The rankings are broken down into top-10 charts for films in English, TV in English, films in non-English languages and TV in non-English languages. In addition to global charts, Netflix will provide rankings for more than 90 countries. 

A ranking of all-time most watched titles also lives on the site, detailing shows that have the most viewing hours in their first 28 days of release. It’s also updated every Tuesday, whenever any programs make it into the charts during the week prior.

Netflix’s most watched shows, ranked

The following are Netflix’s most watched series, based on Netflix’s own reporting of total hours viewed in the first 28 days of each titles’ release. Any changes are in bold text. 

  1. Squid Game (season 1), a Korean survival thriller — 1.65 billion hours.
  2. Bridgerton (season 1), a period romance — 625.5 million hours.
  3. Money Heist (part 4), a Spanish-language thriller — 619 million hours.
  4. All of Us Are Dead, a Korean zombie thriller taking place in a high school — 560.8 million hours.
  5. Stranger Things (season 3), a retro sci-fi series — 582.1 million hours.
  6. The Witcher (season 1), a fantasy show — 541 million hours.
  7. Inventing Anna, a true-crime limited series about a fake socialite — 511.9 million hours
  8. 13 Reasons Why (season 2), a controversial teen drama — 496.1 million hours.
  9. The Witcher (season 2) — 484.3 million hours. 
  10. 13 Reasons Why (season 1) — 475.6 million hours.
  11. Maid, a limited series about a young mother fleeing abuse — 469.1 million hours.
  12. You (season 3), a psychological thriller — 467.8 million hours.
  13. You (season 2) — 457.4 million hours.

Additional high-ranking shows on Netflix have included:

  • Stranger Things (season 2) — 427.4 million hours.
  • Money Heist (part 3) — 426.4 million hours.
  • Sex Education (season 3), a British teen dramedy — 419 million hours.
  • Money Heist (part 5) — 395.1 million hours.
  • Ginny & Georgia (season 1), a dramedy about a young mom and kids — 381 million hours.
  • All of Us Are Dead (season 1), a Korean zombie series — 361 million hours. 
  • Café con Aroma de Mujer (season 1), a Colombian telenovela — 326.9 million hours. 
  • Lupin (part 1), a French heist show — 316.8 million hours.
  • Elite (season 3), a Spanish teen drama — 275.3 million hours.
  • Who Killed Sara? (season 1), a Mexican mystery thriller — 266.4 million hours. 
  • Elite (season 4) — 257.1 million hours.
  • The Queen of Flow (season 2), a musical Colombian telenovela — 230.3 million hours.
  • Lupin (part 2) — 214.1 million hours.
  • Dark Desire (season 1), a Mexican dramatic thriller — 213 million hours.

Netflix’s most watched films, ranked

The following are Netflix’s most watched movies, based on Netflix’s own reporting of total hours viewed in the first 28 days of each titles’ release. Any changes are in bold text. 

  1. Red Notice, an action movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds — 364 million hours.
  2. Don’t Look Up, a dark comedy with a star-packed cast — 359.8 million hours. 
  3. Bird Box, a post-apocalyptic movie starring Sandra Bullock — 282 million hours.
  4. Extraction, an action movie starring Chris Hemsworth– 231.3 million hours.
  5. The Unforgivable, a drama about a woman rebuilding her life after prison — 214.7 million hours.
  6. The Irishman, a period Mafia epic directed by Martin Scorsese– 214.6 million hours.
  7. The Kissing Booth 2, a teen rom-com sequel — 209.3 million hours.
  8. 6 Underground, a Michael Bay explosion-fest starring Ryan Reynolds — 205.5 million hours.
  9. Spenser Confidential, an action-comedy starring Mark Wahlberg — 197.3 million hours.
  10. Enola Holmes, a period detective film — 189.9 million hours.

Former top-ranking movies that have been bumped out of Netflix’s official all-time charts:

  • Army of the Dead, a heist set in a zombie apocalypse — 187 million hours.
  • The Old Guard, an action-thriller starring Charlize Theron — 186 million hours.
  • Murder Mystery, a comedy starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston — 170 million hours.

Netflix appears to have never released a non-English-language film that generated enough viewing hours to make it into an overall top-watched ranking. But additional widely watched non-English language movies on Netflix have included:

  • Blood Red Sky, a German/British action horror film set during a plane hijacking — 110.5 million hours.
  • The Platform, a Spanish social commentary wrapped in a horror film — 108.1 million hours.
  • Through My Window, a Spanish teen romance — 92.4 million hours. 
  • Below Zero, a Spanish action thriller about a breakout from a prison transport vehicle — 78.3 million hours.
  • Rogue City, a French action thriller about an unorthodox team of cops — 66.6 million hours.
  • The Forgotten Battle, a Dutch World War II film — 60.9 million hours.
  • Lost Bullet, it’s like a Fast & Furious movie but French — 58.3 million hours.
  • Spoiled Brats, a French comedy about rich siblings tricked into earning their own living — 56.9 million hours.
  • #Alive, a South Korean about a gamer’s bid to survive the zombie apocalypse — 54.6 million hours.
  • Space Sweepers, a South Korean space western with a weaponized child-android — 53.3 million hours
  • The Last Mercenary, a French action movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme — 52.1 million hours.
  • Just Another Christmas, a Brazilian Christmas comedy — 48 million hours. 

Netflix’s new popularity charts versus the old ones

Up until November, Netflix reported popularity of certain titles using a completely different metric. Netflix used to report popularity by the total number of accounts that watched a show or movie for at least two minutes during the first 28 days of release.

However, these earlier audience stats long exasperated parts of the TV industry for being unverified, unsupported and disclosed without much accountability. 

One big complaint was Netflix’s old yardstick for measuring popularity. The two-minute metric isn’t used by any other competitors, and it can overstate the popularity of a title that people barely sample. The two-minute threshold means some titles are counted as being “watched” before the viewer even arrives at the main title sequence. 

In October, Netflix said it would toss out its controversial two-minute metric in favor of its new hours-watched standard — counting how many total hours a show or movie was watched during its first 28 days of release. November’s launch of the new rankings site made good on that plan. 

Netflix also also brought on EY — formerly known as Ernst & Young, one of the world’s biggest accounting companies — as an independent third party to vouch for the numbers. Netflix will publish EY’s report next year. (Netflix has also switched the daily Top 10 rows on its service itself to show the programs that are being watched most based on total hours viewed, rather than the old two-minute metric that was used to tabulate them before.)

“Figuring out how best to measure success in streaming is hard, and there’s no one perfect metric,” Pablo Perez de Rosso, Netflix’s vice president of content strategy, planning and analysis, said in a blog post announcing the rankings site. “Having looked at the different options, we believe engagement as measured by hours viewed is a strong indicator of a title’s popularity, as well as overall member satisfaction, which is important for retention in subscription services.”

Netflix’s most sampled shows, based on the previous metric

The following are Netflix’s most sampled TV series by number of accounts that have watched at least two minutes in the first 28 days of release. Any figures that were projections when Netflix announced them are noted, and this ranking includes only the shows that Netflix has chosen to disclose. Other Netflix titles certainly have accrued enough sampling in the first month of release to make it on this list, but Netflix can cherry-pick which titles get viewership disclosures.

This list is no longer being updated, since Netflix has switched to reporting hours watched in November. 

  1. Squid Game (season 1), a Korean thriller — 142 million accounts.
  2. Bridgerton (season 1), a period romance — 82 million accounts. 
  3. Lupin (part 1), a French heist series — 76 million accounts. 
  4. The Witcher (season 1), a fantasy series based on an existing franchise of books and video games — 76 million accounts. 
  5. Maid, a limited series about a young mother fleeing abuse — 67 million accounts projected. 
  6. La Casa de Papel (part 5, first half), or Money Heist, a Spanish-language heist thriller series — 65 million accounts.
  7. Sex/Life (season 1), a risque drama about a love triangle — 67 million accounts. 
  8. Stranger Things (season 3), a retro sci-fi series — 67 million accounts. 
  9. La Casa de Papel (part 4), or Money Heist, a Spanish-language heist thriller series — 65 million accounts.
  10. Tiger King, a viral docuseries — 64 million households. 
  11. The Queen’s Gambit, a limited series about a chess prodigy — 62 million accounts. 
  12. Sweet Tooth (season 1), a series based on a DC comic — 60 million accounts. 
  13. Emily in Paris (season 1), a comedy series — 58 million accounts. 
  14. Fate: The Winx Saga (season 1), a teen drama about fairies — 57 million accounts.
  15. Sex Education (season 3), a British teen dramedy show — 55 million accounts. 
  16. Shadow and Bone (season 1), a fantasy series — more than 55 million accounts. 
  17. Who Killed Sara? (season 1), a Mexican series about a brother’s hunt for revenge — 55 million accounts projected.
  18. You (season 2), a psychological thriller series — 54 million accounts projected.
  19. Lupin (part 2), a French heist series — 54 million accounts. 
  20. Ginny & Georgia (season 1), a dramedy about a young mother and her kids seeking a fresh start — 52 million accounts.
  21. Cobra Kai (seasons 1 and 2, released on Netflix simultaneously), a reboot series of The Karate Kid — 50 million accounts.
  22. Firefly Lane (season 1), a drama chronicling the friendship of two women over decades — 49 million accounts.
  23. Ratched (season 1), a psychological thriller series — 48 million accounts.
  24. Cobra Kai (season 3), a teen action series about a band of misfit martial artists — 45 million accounts.
  25. Umbrella Academy (season 2), a superhero series — 43 million accounts.
  26. Lucifer (season 5), a fantasy police-procedural series — 38 million accounts.
  27. Barbarians (season 1), a German historical action series — 37 million accounts.
  28. Elite (season 4), a Spanish teen drama — 37 million accounts. 
  29. Who Killed Sara? (season 2), a Mexican crime thriller — 34 million accounts. 
  30. Love Is Blind (season 1), a dating competition series — 30 million. 
  31. Too Hot to Handle (season 2), a dating show — 29 million accounts estimated. 
  32. Selena: The Series (part 1), a Spanish-language show about the famed singer — 25 million accounts.
  33. Sweet Home (season 1), a Korean-language horror show — 22 million accounts.
  34. The Crown (season 3), a historical drama series — 21 million accounts.
  35. The Sons of Sam (season 1), a true-crime docuseries — 19 million accounts
  36. Alice in Borderland (season 1), a Japanese-language sci-fi thriller series — 18 million accounts.
  37. The Circle (season 2), a social experiment reality program — 14 million accounts estimated. 

Netflix’s most sampled movies, based on the previous metric

The following are Netflix’s most sampled films by the number of accounts that have watched at least two minutes in the first 28 days of release. Any figures that were projections when Netflix announced them are noted, and this ranking includes only the films that Netflix has chosen to disclose. Other Netflix titles certainly have accrued enough sampling in the first month of release to make it on this list, but Netflix can cherry-pick which titles get viewership disclosures. 

This list is no longer being updated, since Netflix has switched to reporting hours watched in November. 

  1. Extraction, an action movie starring Chris Hemsworth — 99 million accounts.
  2. Bird Box, a postapocalyptic movie starring Sandra Bullock — more than 89 million accounts.
  3. Spenser Confidential, an action-comedy movie starring Mark Wahlberg — 85 million accounts.
  4. 6 Underground, a Michael Bay explosion-fest starring Ryan Reynolds — 83 million accounts.
  5. The Old Guard, an action-thriller movie — 78 million accounts.
  6. Enola Holmes, a period detective film — 77 million accounts projected.
  7. Project Power, a dark superhero movie — 75 million accounts.
  8. Army of the Dead, a hybrid heist-zombie flick — 75 million accounts.
  9. Fatherhood, a dramedy film starring Kevin Hart — 74 million accounts projected. 
  10. Murder Mystery, a comedy movie starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston — 73 million accounts.
  11. The Midnight Sky, a sci-fi movie directed and starring George Clooney — 72 million accounts projected.
  12. The Guilty, a crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal — 69 million accounts projected. 
  13. Sweet Girl, an action thriller starring Jason Momoa about husband avenging his wife’s death — 68 million accounts. 
  14. Holidate, a Christmas-themed rom-com movie — 68 million accounts.
  15. Sex/Life, a drama about a racy love triangle — 67 million accounts. 
  16. Kissing Booth 2, a teen rom-com flick — 66 million accounts.
  17. Outside the Wire, a sci-fi movie starring Anthony Mackie as an android supersoldier — 66 million accounts. 
  18. The Irishman, a period epic about the Mafia, directed by Martin Scorsese — 64 million accounts.
  19. Triple Frontier, an action/heist movie starring Ben Affleck — 63 million accounts.
  20. Yes Day, a family film about kids being in charge — 62 million accounts. 
  21. The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two, a sequel Santa Claus adventure movie — 61 million accounts.
  22. Kissing Booth 3, a teen rom-com flick — 59 million accounts.
  23. The Wrong Missy, a romantic-comedy movie starring David Spade and Lauren Lapkus — 59 million accounts.
  24. The Platform, a Spanish sci-fi horror movie — 56 million accounts.
  25. I Care a Lot, a thriller about a con artist who scammed a dangerous man — 56 million accounts. 
  26. He’s All That, a teen rom-com film — 55 million accounts. 
  27. Blood Red Sky, a German action movie about a terrorist airliner plot — 53 million accounts. 
  28. We Can Be Heroes, the kids-of-superheroes action film — 53 million accounts projected.
  29. American Murder: The Family Next Door, a true-crime documentary film — 52 million accounts projected.
  30. To All the Boys: Always and Forever, the final film in a popular teen rom-com trilogy — 51 million accounts. 
  31. The Perfect Date, a teen romantic-comedy movie — 48 million accounts.
  32. Below Zero, a Spanish action film about an attack on a prisoner transport truck — 47 million accounts.
  33. Vivo, an animated family film with song by Lin-Manuel Miranda — 46 million accounts. 
  34. Over the Moon, an animated film about a girl traveling to a mythical land — 43 million accounts.
  35. Klaus, an animated holiday film nominated for an Oscar — 40 million accounts.
  36. The Social Dilemma, a documentary about social-media companies — 38 million accounts
  37. Squared Love, a Polish rom-com film about a womanizer who falls for a model living a double life — 31 million accounts.
  38. Just Another Christmas, Netflix’s first Portuguese-language holiday film — 26 million accounts.
  39. Space Sweepers, a South Korean space Western about four outcasts who discover a lethal robot child — 26 million accounts.

Wait, what’s the difference between something that was most watched and something that was most sampled? 

Titles that are the most sampled, as mentioned before, are ranked by how many accounts watched at least two minutes of them in the first 28 days of release. Titles that are the most watched are shows and movies with the greatest total accumulated viewing hours in their first 28 days of release.

The introduction of the hour-watched data provided new context around Netflix’s earlier popularity figures, allowing comparisons between programming that racked up a lot of watch-time versus programming that was widely sampled (or, in some cases, both.)

Hours-watched can reveal programming that inspires the most loyalty. Three programs show up in the hours-watched Top 10 list twice, even though none make repeat appearances in the Top 10 most sampled: retro sci-fi series Stranger ThingsMoney Heist, a Spanish-language series also known as La Casa de Papel; and 13 Reasons Why, a teen series that’s been criticized for its depiction of suicide. Each have two seasons that made it onto the Top 10 most watched list. Their repeat appearances in the rankings reflect how hours-watched can be a better gauge of the enduring appeal of particular titles. 

Hours-watched also can reveal the strength of some shows that were either released before Netflix began sharing viewership stats, or were released so long ago that Netflix simply had millions fewer accounts that could sample them. As of September, the third season of Stranger Things, for example, was Netflix’s No. 8 most popular show by number of accounts sampling it. But by hours watched, the same season moves up to No. 4 — and its second season, which came out when Netflix had 100 million fewer subscribers, is its No. 11 top show by hours watched. 

The hours-watched metric also comes with a caveat to keep it mind: It favors movies and TV seasons that have longer runtimes, so long as people stick with them. At three-and-a-half-hours long, The Irishman suddenly appears up high in Netflix’s film Top 10 list of movies by hours watched, even though it falls far short of a Top 10 ranking if you count how many accounts sampled it. 

What other viewership stats has Netflix released?

Prior to 2020, Netflix counted views differently. Netflix would count something as “watched” when you got through 70% of it, either of the first episode for a series or of a film’s total runtime, within the first 28 days of release. Netflix says the new two-minute threshold is more fair to all titles, regardless of their length. But it also means the newer stats inflated viewership numbers by about one-third compared with the old ones. 

These are previous viewership stats under the 70% rule, for reference.

  • Stranger Things (season 3), a retro sci-fi series — 64 million households. 
  • Umbrella Academy (season 1), a superhero series — 45 million households.
  • Tall Girl, a teen rom-com movie — 41 million households.
  • Sex Education (season 1), a British teen dramedy show — more than 40 million households.
  • The Highwaymen, a period crime movie starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson — more than 40 million households.
  • Secret Obsession, a movie mystery about a young wife with amnesia — 40 million views.
  • Our Planet, a BBC-style nature docuseries — 33 million households.
  • Always Be My Maybe, a comedy film with Ali Wong and Randall Park — 32 million households.
  • Unbelievable, a true-crime miniseries about the victims of a serial rapist, and the detectives hunting him down — 32 million accounts.
  • Dead to Me (season 1), a dramedy series with Christina Applegate — 30 million households.
  • Otherhood, a movie about a band of moms visiting their adult sons by surprise — 29 million households. 
  • When They See Us, a buzzy limited series from creator Ava DuVernay about the Central Park Five case — 25 million households. 
  •  Bodyguard (season 1), a BBC-World Productions series that previously aired in the UK — 23 million member households.
  • Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a documentary film about the Fyre Fest debacle — more than 20 million homes.
  • Élite (season 1), a Spanish-language high-school soap series — more than 20 million member households. 
  • Baby (season 1), an Italian teen drama series — more than 10 million homes.
  • The Protector (season 1), Netflix’s first Turkish original series — more than 10 million households.

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