The 13 most popular movies on Netflix so far this year — and what critics thought of them

  • 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)

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

12. “365 Days” (2020)

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)

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

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

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

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

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

8. “Angel Has Fallen” (2019)

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)

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

6. “The Angry Birds Movie 2” (2019)

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

5. “The Help” (2011)

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

4. “Clueless” (1995)

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

3. “Despicable Me” (2010)

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

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

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

1. “Uncut Gems” (2019)

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

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The 13 most popular movies on Netflix so far this year — and
what critics thought of them