By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Netflix Inc’s original film “Murder Mystery,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, topped a list of the streaming service’s most popular releases of 2019 in the United States but its award-winning “The Crown” failed to make the top 10.
Netflix said on Monday that science fiction series “Stranger Things” came in second, followed by the Michael Bay action movie “6 Underground.” The animated movie “Incredibles 2” and Martin Scorsese’s gangster film “The Irishman” took the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
The ranking was based on the number of households watching at least two minutes of a series, movie or special during its first 28 days on Netflix in 2019, the streaming service said.
British royal series “The Crown,” whose first two seasons cost a reported $130 million to make, did not appear in the top 10 list for either the U.S. or the UK or Canada despite having won major awards, including for its leading actors. Season 3 was released in November and Netflix did not supply any viewing data.
Netflix, which boasts more than 158 million subscribers around the world, only selectively releases viewership figures for programming it considers a hit, and the numbers are not verified by a third party.
Executives at Netflix have said they plan to be more transparent with audience data to satisfy Hollywood producers and stars and to help viewers decide what to watch.
The limited details on what grabbed Netflix viewers’ attention this year came ahead of the company’s Jan. 21 quarterly earnings report, which will disclose revenue and membership by region for the first time.
The streaming heavyweight is facing new competition, particularly from Walt Disney Co, which has been removing its movies from Netflix and putting them on the Disney+ streaming service.
Netflix shares have risen 23% this year, the smallest annual rise in three years. The S&P 500 Index is up 29% for the year.
(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney and Nick Macfie)