Netflix’s Top 10 Most Rented Films Of All Time

Wednesday, November 23 2011
Netflix’s Top 10 Most Rented Films Of All Time

It boasts almost 24 million subscribers in the US,  and now it’s on its way to the UK. So it’s as good a time as any to look at the 10 most popular films in subscription operator Netflix’s 12 year history. Incidentally, it also earned the company some good PR too, particularly online, with bloggers and magazine speculating as to what they said about Netflix, its army of subscribers and the US too…

These then, in order, are its most rented films ever…

1. The Blind Side

One thing the list does say is that American renters like an Oscar winner, with the list proving how useful the Academy Award can be in boosting a film’s chances. This surprised  across the board, with Sandra Bullock’s gong boosting it and making it the best renter of all-time, a feat all the more remarkable given the fact that Netflix launched in 1999 and this film came out  less than two years ago. 

2. Crash

The highest Oscar winner and another film that arguably underperformed at theatrical (certainly initially) and this lived a lengthier and more profitable life as a home entertainment option. Its stellar ensemble cast has obviously helped. 

3. The Bucket List

In a top 10 that certainly doesn’t look as obvious as you might think it was, this still looks like something of a surprise entry. It’s certainly not young people renting titles, or not if this is anything to go by.

4. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Critical acclaim aplenty, Brad Pitt, Academy Award nominations… This David Fincher outing obviously had the right credentials to help it through. 

5. The Hurt Locker

This is a film that made its reputation as a home entertainment option, taking in DVD, Blu-ray and, of course, digital options too. Its performance in the US mirrored that of the UK, taking in an even earlier theatrical release and readily available home viewing formats when it came to its Oscar night triumph, which positioned it ideally for a successful run. 

6. The Departed

Big star names such as Leonardo DiCaprio help too, a fact proved by two appearances from the superstar in this chart. This has more than just one marquee name, giving it further appeal. 

7. Sherlock Holmes

A successful film, certainly, so much so a sequel is due shortly, but not in the top 10 grossing films since 1999, so it’s also slightly surprising to see it in here. One of two Robert Downey Jr starrers in the top 10 list. 

8. Inception

One of the most recent entries into the list and it’s in keeping with a lot of the rest of the 10 – it’s a blockbuster,  sure, but it’s one that could also be considered as a touch more intelligent than the average big budget fare. Inception, like others here, more than stands up to repeat viewing and this has obviously boosted its performance for Netflix.  

9 Iron Man

Given the glut of superhero films since Netflix’s inception, it’s interesting to see that only one makes the 10, and that’s Marvel’s Iron Man franchise, starring Robert Downey Jr. 

10 No Country For Old Men

A four Oscar-winner and another that perhaps suggests that the rental market has shifted away from the lowest common denominator kind of audience that you’d have thought 10 years or so ago…