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The 13 Most Popular Movies On Netflix So Far This Year — And What Critics Thought Of Them

BUSINESS INSIDER

Travis Clark Jul 8, 2020, 5:32 PM

Extraction” On NETFLIX
  • Business Insider looked back at Netflix’s most popular movies of the year so far to determine which ones have been the streamer’s biggest hits in 2020, and what critics thought of them.
  • Netflix originals like the action movie “Extraction” and the comedy “Spenser Confidential” have been huge, but so have the Adam Sandler drama “Uncut Gems” and the animated hit “Despicable Me.”
  • Netflix introduced daily top 10 lists of its most popular titles in February and the streaming search engine Reelgood has provided Business Insider with weekly lists of Netflix’s most popular movies, based on the streaming giant’s own daily lists, since March.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When Netflix began displaying daily top 10 lists of its most popular titles on the service in February, it acted as a way to highlight some of its original content. 

From the Chris Hemsworth action movie “Extraction” to the animated “Willoughbys,” Netflix’s original movies have surged up these lists over the past few months.

Reelgood, the streaming search engine, has provided Business Insider with weekly rundown of the most popular movies on Netflix since March, based on the streaming giant’s own daily lists. Netflix counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a show or movie and that’s how it calculates the lists, which update every 24 hours.

To understand the movies that have been Netflix’s biggest hits, we looked at the 13 movies that appeared most frequently on the lists. Then we ranked them by their Rotten Tomatoes critic scores to see how they fared with the press. We only included movies that appeared on the list for three or more weeks. We made an exception for some movies that appeared fewer times but hit the No. 1 spot.

It wasn’t just Netflix originals that did well.

When last year’s Adam Sandler drama “Uncut Gems” debuted on Netflix in May, it shot up the popularity charts. 2011’s “The Help” was also popular for a few weeks last month, though critics offered other movies to watch on Netflix about race from Black creators, as protests against racism and police violence spread across the US (“The Help” was directed by Tate Taylor, who is white).

The most popular movies on Netflix so far this year ranged from animated hits like “Despicable Me” to critically reviled movies like Netflix’s “The Last Days of American Crime,” which has a 0% critic score (and it’s not the only movie with that score to show up on the list).

Most of the movies are recent releases from this year or last year.

Below are the 13 most popular movies on Netflix so far this year, ranked by critics:

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13. “The Last Days of American Crime” (2020, Netflix original)

the last days of american crime
“The Last Days of American Crime” Netflix

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 2

Description: “A bank robber joins a plot to commit one final, historic heist before the government turns on a mind-altering signal that will end all criminal behavior.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 0%

Audience score: 23%

What critics said: “Instantly forgettable tough-guy fantasia.” — Hollywood Reporter

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12. “365 Days” (2020)

365 days netflix
Netflix

Highest ranking: 1 (twice)

Number of appearances: 4

Description: “A fiery executive in a spiritless relationship falls victim to a dominant mafia boss, who imprisons her and gives her one year to fall in love with him.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 0%

Audience score: 30%

What critics said: “Thoroughly terrible, politically objectionable, occasionally hilarious.” — Variety

__________________________________________

11. “Coffee and Kareem” (2020, Netflix original)

coffee and kareem
Netflix

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 2

Netflix description: “An inept Detroit cop must team up with his girlfriend’s foul-mouthed young son when their first crack at bonding time uncovers a criminal conspiracy.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 20%

What critics said: “There just isn’t much of a movie here, or even much of an homage movie when you compare it to its clear influences like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon.” — RogerEbert.com

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10. “The Wrong Missy” (2020, Netflix original)

the wrong missy netflix
Netflix

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 3

Description: “Tim thinks he’s invited the woman of his dreams on a work retreat to Hawaii, realizing too late he mistakenly texted someone from a nightmare blind date.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 36%

What critics said: “‘The Wrong Missy’ is a lightweight throwaway, the kind of movie it is difficult to suggest one actually choose to watch, but if your algorithm somehow lands on it provides a certain harmless diversion.” — Los Angeles Times

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9. “Spenser Confidential” (2020, Netflix original)

spenser confidential
Netflix

Highest ranking: 1 (twice)

Number of appearances: 3

Netflix description: “Spenser, an ex-cop and ex-con, teams up with aspiring fighter Hawk to uncover a sinister conspiracy tied to the deaths of two Boston police officers.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 37%

What critics said: “An ending that teases the possibility of sequels, with Wahlberg’s Spenser tackling more cases of police officers and emergency personnel who have been falsely accused of crimes, should elicit nothing but groans.” — AV Club

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8. “Angel Has Fallen” (2019)

angel has fallen
“Angel Has Fallen”  Lionsgate

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 4

Netflix description: “Secret Service agent Mike Banning is caught in the crossfire when he’s framed for a deadly attack on the president and forced to run for his life.” 

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 39%

What critics said: “There’s no thrill to this thriller. Nor is there nuance to the characters.” — Globe and Mail

__________________________________________

7. “Extraction” (2020, Netflix original)

extraction
Netflix

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 3

Netflix description: “A hardened mercenary’s mission becomes a soul-searching race to survive when he’s sent into Bangladesh to rescue a drug lord’s kidnapped son.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 69%

What critics said: “No judgments here if you just want to hang back and let nonstop gore, gunfire, explosions and a gung-ho Chris Hemsworth numb you into submission.” — Rolling Stone

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6. “The Angry Birds Movie 2” (2019)

angry birds movie 2
Columbia Pictures

Highest ranking: 4

Number of appearances: 4

Netflix description: “Enemies turn into frenemies when the Pigs call for a truce with the Birds to unite against a formidable new foe that’s threatening all of their homes.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 73% 

What critics said: “Things move along at such an agreeably fast clip — particularly in the second half, when the mission gets underway — that it’ll be a pleasurable experience for kids and adults alike.” — RogerEbert.com

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5. “The Help” (2011)

the help
Dreamworks

Highest ranking: 3

Number of appearances: 3

Description: “A young, white writer stirs up the status quo in 1960s Mississippi by interviewing Black housemaids and bringing their stories to the masses.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 76%

What critics said: “Suffers from an obsequious lust for stereotypes.” — Financial Times

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4. “Clueless” (1995)

clueless
Paramount Pictures

Highest ranking: 5

Number of appearances: 3

Description: “Meddlesome Beverly Hills high school student Cher gets more than she bargained for when she gives a fashion-challenged student a makeover.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 80%

What critics said: “The summer’s most compelling movie about teenagers.” — Newsweek

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3. “Despicable Me” (2010)

despicable me
Dreamworks

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 7

Netflix description: “Villainous Gru hatches a plan to steal the moon from the sky. But he has a tough time staying on task after three orphans land in his care.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 81%

What critics said: “The Steve Carell-starring animated comedy is an instant classic, and for anyone with kids, this might buy you a couple hours’ peace.” — Daily Beast

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2. “The Willoughbys” (2020, Netflix original)

the willoughbys
Netflix

Highest ranking: 2

Number of appearances: 5

Netflix description: “Four siblings with horribly selfish parents hatch a plan to get rid of them for good and form a perfectly imperfect family of their own.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 90%

What critics said: “There’s a lot going on in The Willoughbys, yet if you can get on board with its manic energy and accelerated plotting, the Netflix animated family comedy-adventure has an oddball charm that works surprisingly well.” — Hollywood Reporter

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1. “Uncut Gems” (2019)

Uncut Gems A24
A24

Highest ranking: 1

Number of appearances: 3

Netflix description: “With his debts mounting and angry collectors closing in, a fast-talking New York City jeweler risks everything in hopes of staying afloat and alive.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 92%

What critics said: “It all ends up to be a film in which both Sandler and the Safdies are pulling out all the stops, and it works.” — USA Today

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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