Disney and Pixar’s Luca dominated the Nielsen film streaming charts to become the most-streamed film of 2021 with over 10 billion minutes watched.
Luca topped the Nielsen Charts to reportedly become the top streaming film of 2021. Pixar’s 24th film, Luca follows the story of a young sea monster who has the ability to assume human form out of water named Luca (Jacob Tremblay) who befriends another sea monster named Alberto (Jack Dylan Glazer) and the two begin a summer adventure exploring the city of Portorosso in the Italian Riveria. Originally set for a theatrical release, Disney scrapped the plans and released Luca as a Disney+ exclusive on June 18, 2021.
The film was a hit with critics scoring a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Similar to other Pixar titles before it like Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, and WALL-E Pixar released a short film based on the original title, this one, Ciao Alberto, focusing on Alberto after the events of the film that was released on Disney+. Luca is now both eligible for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Picture at the upcoming 94th Academy Awards, with nominations set to be announced on February 8, 2022.
According to Deadline, Luca was the most streamed film of 2021 bringing over 10.6 billion minutes of viewing. Three other new Disney films made the chart with Raya and the Last Dragon coming in third, Cruella at the number eight spot, and The Jungle Cruise rounding out the top 10. All three of those had Disney+ Premier Access releases, whereas Luca was available for no additional cost. It should be noted that Nielsen only tracks television viewing so mobile devices are not counted, and numbers for HBO Max films were not tracked.
While Disney has not released any official streaming numbers for Luca, this amount of viewership is good news for the film and the company. When Luca first hit Disney+, it was reported that viewership had nearly tied with Soul in its first week of availability. This also may provide further context for Disney’s decision to send the upcoming Pixar film Turning Red straight to Disney+ as opposed to theaters, with the studio likely hoping for a similar success story.
Luca’s massive success on Disney+, as well as the studio’s dominance over the Nielsen film streaming charts, goes to show the high demand for family films, given that it was not until November that kids 5 years old and under were eligible for the vaccine in the United States. It also made economic sense for families, where one streaming film or even the price of a streaming service was cheaper than a day out at the movies. While family films have done well on streaming it will be telling to see how they perform exclusively when released in theaters, and if audiences have now become conditioned to expect family films as streaming films.
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