01 January 2024

2023 Movie Watching in Review!

 It's time again for one of my favorite annual traditions - adding up all the movies I watched last year and pulling together some mildly interesting data! We have been doing this since 2015 and I'm proud to say this was our lightest year, yet! Here are our on-going stats:

Total movies198220224249200182181202171
First-time viewingsn/a117133157131110111154102
First-time viewing %n/a53%59%63%66%60%61%76%60%
Streaming %n/a25%36%63%59%73%74%79%78%
TV %43%38%25%4%4%2%6%1%4%
Theater %5%5%5%6%4%1%4%4%4%

As you can see, our first-time viewings were in line, percentage-wise with previous years, besides 2022, when I made the 52 in '22 concentrated effort to watch a lot of new things. It's amazing to see when that unraveled how much I fell back into typical habits. I don't mean to rewatch so many films!

Stgreaming's percentage has leveled off and we'll see if it sticks around that high 70% or so or continues to crawl. I had a bit more on TV, which was almost 100% hotel room stays, and my theater percentage has been very steady. I hate to say it to theater owners, but it is barely different from pre-pandemic numbers.


Netflix Streaming1911.1%
Amazon Prime1810.5%
Netflix DVD148.2%
Other Streaming95.3%
Total Streaming:13377.8%

 Now, don't let Disney+'s numbers fool you, I separated MAX from HBOMax, which adds up to 29 movies, by far the most. Disney+ was mostly five Star Wars movies on January 1st, 2022, and a bunch of Christmas movies in December. I should note that they've still fallen - the past two years HBOMax has had around 60 movies, or 30%. Combined this year they're about 17%. Tbat's still my preferred method by a good chunk, but way way down.

A lot of that is assuredly them not being so eager to throw WB's movies on streaming so fast, but it's also definitely a dip both in quality of offerings and a heavily nerfed interface that no longer makes it easy to see both movies leaving soon and new arrivals.

What's remarkable is Amazon nearly matching Netflix after years of irrelevancy, and how Peacock, Hulu, and Paramount+ have all sort of leveled out, in a not insignificant way. The other streaming movies came from Apple TV+, XUMO, TUBI, YouTube, and Xfinity.

Lastly, let us mourn Netflix DVD. They conked out in September, so our numbers would have assuredly been higher, but I'm guessing Streaming's share crawls up even more.



Nothing too mind-blowing here. I was surprised that I saw more 80s films than both the 90s and 2000s. As usual, we could do more pre-1960s. I had a kid this year, man, I went to the default. To get those olden, hard to find, brand-less films I just need to be super-intentional. This wasn't the year for that!



At this point it's clear that I have no monthly trends. February and September are busy months that usually dip and December generally peaks as I catch up on the year, have more time, and watch some Christmas movies.

August was my worst month ever. I had never had a month under 10, and I had two this year. Oh well. 2018 was nuts, with eight months with over 20 movies. That's how you get to 249! I think this month chart isn't accurate to the year. That's okay.



For the first time we tracked genre! Comedy and action dominated, which shouldn't be too big of a surprise. I really debated how specific to get - I think I started out tracking Sci-Fi, Western, etc but apparently gave that up at some point. If anyone wants to get more specific, leave a comment! Ha.

I'd like to keep doing genre. At this level until I get bored.

What does our future hold? Man I don't know what streaming service is going to come out on top. Peacock and Paramount+ are nice for their specific studios' new releases, but really not much else. However, there are so many movies that I just wouldn't really see in theaters. I'm genuinely curious if studios think about this. They must, right? Surely people are like me, I know I'm more of a cinephile than the average person, but surely that means that I am actually going to the theater much more often than the average person. But I still only saw 3.5% of all the movies I saw in the theater.

All that means is that I really don't think we should care at all about Box Office numbers. I don't think bombs exist anymore. We should really think about cultural influence in terms of total number of eyeballs that watched a piece of media. Now, for some reason that's difficult, even though streaming services can assuredly track all this stuff more accurately than any previous time in history. I don't know why studios don't just go full into announcing these kinds of metrics and totally ignore the cinema. The audiences have! Was The Flash that big of a bomb this year? How many folks watched it on MAX? Probably more than ever watched Batman Returns (1992), which is an insane statement, but for real, we're in a scary new world and it's time to except that the streaming vs. theater experience is 78% vs. 3.5%.

I posit that more people are watching more movies than ever before. This is probably a big reason why we seem to lack cultural events - when a big movie was in the theater as the best possible viewing experience (images on both VHS and TVs sucked for such a long time) we all went. But more than that, when we can watch anything any time, even though we have much greater distribution and are seeing more movies than ever, that's precisely the problem. We aren't sharing and festering on one event, we've got seven more to get through throughout the year and it's that much harder for anything to stand out.

All that makes Super Mario, Barbie, and Oppenheimer all that much more interesting - as each one was a novel experience. It's strange to me that again, who knows how many eyeballs actually watched every movie of the year, but the top Box Office films also still felt like the biggest event films. Might that just be how much our culture globs on to cinema still? Or just that when culture is concentrated around a weekend it somehow feels more significant than say, spread out over both cinematic and VOD releases? I have eagerly anticipated a few streaming releases this year, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, although I swear they changed that a ton of times. If they hyped up VOD releases maybe they could conquer this (and I should say, free streaming releases, I don't know why anyone would pay $20 for these films on VOD. We do have all sorts of weird hangups, like even though our TV can match the big screen in quality, it's still not equal financially).

This is also all a big way to create sleeper cult hits. Because of course there's more than one way to become culturally relevant. So many films have found their niche on TV or DVD, in fact even the biggest films who can't repeat that success tend to fade into the background. That's why we tend to do best of lists around here one to ten years apart. It takes a really long time for great films to sink in. This is a long way of saying, I think that's just our world now.

What do we have in store for 2024?! Check back in a year to find out
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