Samba TV: Classic Titles, Led by ‘Elf,’ Top Christmas Movie Viewership

When it comes to Christmas-themed movies, Warner Bros. Pictures’ 20-year-old Elf, starring Will Ferrell, James Caan and Zoey Deschanel, remains the most popular this season with 9 million views across U.S. household televisions from Nov. 10-Dec. 10, according to new data from Samba TV.

During that time period, U.S. households overwhelmingly tuned in to Christmas movies airing on linear television or streaming platforms, despite the strong original holiday content catalogs built by numerous streaming services this year. This season has also seen various platforms break into original holiday programming, offering their own movies for streaming audiences.

The most in-demand movie genre this holiday season is comedies, comprising all 10 of the most-watched movies of the season, with households preferring laughs over tear-jerkers or romance in the run-up until Christmas.

Elf saw a 14% spike in viewership from the same period in 2022. Households with children preferred to catch new holiday movies via streaming platforms, overindexing with new original films. Meanwhile, older viewers tended to favor the Christmas classics versus the national average and were more likely to skip the new releases on streaming platforms.

“The data shows interesting diversity as to who watches holiday movies,” Ashwin Navin, co-founder/CEO of Samba, said in a statement. “Streaming platforms win in 2023 with large catalogs that satisfy diverse holiday tastes and have offered a mix of tried and true classics as well as new content.”

Following Elf, 7.9 million watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and 7.1 million watched Home Alone. By comparison, only one new streaming holiday movie (Best. Christmas. Ever!) surpassed 2 million households within the same time period. Many of the holiday classics aired on a mix of linear TV networks and streaming platforms, which bolstered their popularity.

Led by the aforementioned Best. Christmas. Ever!The Family Switch (Netflix) and Candy Cane Lane (Prime Video) were standouts among the new streaming holiday movies, driving 2.3 million, 1.9 million, and 1.9 million household views, respectively. Candy Cane Lane, starring Eddie Murphy, was the top-performing new streaming movie outside of Netflix’s catalog throughout the time period measured. These three original films were the only new holiday movies on streaming platforms to surpass 1 million households within that time frame.

Across all six of the new streaming movies that ranked within the top 20 overall, households with kids below the age of 19 overindexed compared to the average U.S. household. The highest overindex among households with children aged 10-19 was EXmas, according to Samba TV.

Adults aged 55-64 overindexed on 12 of the 14 holiday classics analyzed, but only one of the new streaming holiday movies. The highest overindex among this group was It’s a Wonderful Life at (plus 23%).

White households overindexed on every one of the top 20 holiday movies surveyed except for one (Candy Cane Lane). Meanwhile, Asian audiences did not overindex on any holiday movie, Hispanic households overindexed on only two (Family Switch and The Nightmare Before Christmas), and Black households overindexed on only four (Candy Cane Lane, Best. Christmas. Ever!, The Naughty Nine and Die Hard).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The highest overindexing movie among Black households was Candy Cane Lane.

Finally, geography played a role in what Christmas movies households watched. Households in Boston overindexed on 19 out of the top 20 holiday movies on both classics and new streaming releases, while Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh households overindexed on 17 each. Meanwhile, warmer designated market areas such as Dallas and Los Angeles underindexed on viewership of all of the top holiday movies.

Top Streaming/VOD Holiday Movies by U.S. Household Viewership

 

Movie

Category

(Blue = New)

11.10.23 – 12.10.23

U.S. HH Viewership

1

Elf

Older

  9 million

2

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Older

  7.9 million

3

Home Alone

Older

  7.1 million

4

The Santa Clause

Older

  4.3 million

5

Four Christmases

Older

  3.5 million

6

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Older

  2.5 million

7

Best. Christmas. Ever.

New

  2.3 million

8

The Holiday

Older

  2.3 million

9

Family Switch

New

  1.9 million

10

A Christmas Story

Older

  1.9 million

11

Candy Cane Lane

New

  1.9 million

12

It’s a Wonderful Life

Older

  1.7 million

13

Die Hard

Older

  1.4 million

14

Love Actually

Older

  1.4 M

15

The Polar Express

Older

  1.1 million

16

Genie

New

  934,000

17

The Naughty Nine

New

  834,000

18

Scrooged

Older

  795,000

19

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Older

  783,000

20

EXmas

New

  751,000

Top New Holiday Movies by Streaming Platform

Streaming Platform

Movie

11.10.23 – 12.10.23

U.S. HH Viewership

Netflix

Best. Christmas. Ever.

2.3 million

Amazon Prime Video

Candy Cane Lane

1.9 million

Peacock

Genie

934,000

Disney+

The Naughty Nine

834,000

Freevee

EXmas

751,000

Hulu

*also on Disney+

Dashing Through the Snow

618,000

Apple TV+

Hannah Waddingham – Home for Christmas

146,000

19-Year-Old ‘Elf’ Movie Again Tops U.K. Home Entertainment Weekly Sales

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 2003 holiday comedy classic Elf again topped the U.K. home entertainment sales chart for the week ended Dec. 28, to solidify its position as the region’s No. 1 selling Christmas movie in 2022.

The movie, co-starring starring Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart, the late James Caan and Zoey Deschanel, among others, ended the period No. 1 for the sixth week, and for the third time in 2022. The movie kept Paramount Home Entertainment’s record-breaking Top Gun: Maverick at No. 2 for a second week.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s animated release The Grinch, moved to No. 3 from its fourth spot last week. Warner’s timeless holiday classic featuring Tom Hanks’ voice, The Polar Express, assumed the No. 4 spot from the No. 8 position held previously.

Universal’s romantic comedy Ticket To Paradise, co-starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, entered the top 10 for the first time at No. 5 following its 13th position previously.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Warner biopic Elvis climbed to No. 6,  while Universal’s Jurassic World Dominion fell one spot to No. 7 — ahead of Warner’s top-selling DC Comics superhero film The Batman at No. 8. The studio’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore remained in the top 10 at No. 9, while Universal’s Downton Abbey: A New Era dropped five spots to No. 10.

Rank Previous Week Movie Studio Peak Position Weeks on Chart
1 1 Elf Warner 1 36
2 2 Top Gun: Maverick Paramount 1 17
3 The Grinch (2018) Universal 1 42
4 The Polar Express Warner 4 30
5 13  Ticket to Paradise Universal 5 2
6 Elvis Warner 1 13
7 Jurassic World Dominion Universal 1 13
8 12  The Batman Warner 1 30
9 10  Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Warner 1 23
10 Downton Abbey: A New Era Universal 1 19

© Official Charts Company 2022

2003 Will Ferrell ‘Elf’ Movie Tops U.K. Christmas Home Entertainment Movie List

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 2003 holiday comedy classic Elf topped the U.K. home entertainment sales chart the week ended Dec. 21, to become the country’s No. 1 Christmas movie in 2022.

The movie, starring Will Ferrell, the late James Caan and Zoey Deschanel, among others, ended the retail period No. 1 for the fifth week, and second time in 2022. The movie kept Paramount Home Entertainment’s record-breaking Top Gun: Maverick at No. 2.

New Warner release Black Adam entered the chart at No. 3, followed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s animated release of The Grinch at No. 4, Downton Abbey: A New Era (No. 5) and Jurassic World Dominion (No. 6).

Warner’s biopic Elvis finished No. 7, followed by perennial holiday release The Polar Express (No. 8), followed by a new entry, the David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream, and Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore at No. 10.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Dec. 21, 2022

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor
1 2 ELF WARNER
2 1 TOP GUN: MAVERICK PARAMOUNT
3 NEW BLACK ADAM WARNER
4 6 THE GRINCH (2018) UNIVERSAL
5 4 DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA UNIVERSAL
6 5 JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION UNIVERSAL
7 3 ELVIS WARNER
8 12 THE POLAR EXPRESS WARNER
9 NEW MOONAGE DAYDREAM UNIVERSAL
10 7 FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE WARNER

© Official Charts Company 2022

Vintage ‘Elf’ Movie Supplants ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ on U.K. Home Entertainment Sales Chart

The reign of Paramount Home Entertainment’s Top Gun: Maverick atop the weekly Official Film Chart in the U.K. won’t reach double digits — at least not the week ended Dec. 14.

That’s because Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 19-year-old Will Ferrell winter holiday classic, Elf, returned to the No. 1 spot — two years after it last topped the chart.

Maverick’s run atop the sales chart has stalled at nine total weeks, the last five weeks of which were consecutive. The sequel to 1986’s Top Gun finished in the No. 2 spot.

Warner’s Black Adam bowed on the chart at No. 3, the week’s highest new movie release. The DC Comics actioner stars Dwayne Johnson as the title anti-hero, with co-stars Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan, among others.

The 2018 animated movie The Grinch moved up to No. 4, followed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Downton Abbey: A New Era, Jurassic World Dominion, and Warner’s biopic Elvis dropping to No. 7.

Disney’s perennial winter holiday classic The Polar Express moved up to No. 8, with the David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream, which explores the musical legend’s creative and musical journey over the years, at No. 9. Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore rounded out the chart.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Position Previous Week Movie Studio Peak Position Weeks on Chart
1 4 Elf Warner 1 35
2 Top Gun: Maverick Paramount 1 16
3 NEW Black Adam Warner 3 NEW
4 6 The Grinch (2018) Universal 1 40
5 4 Downton Abbey: A New Era Universal 1 19
6 Jurassic World Dominion Universal 1 13
7 3 Elvis Warner 1 12
8 16 The Polar Express Disney 4 28
9 NEW Moonage Daydream Decal NEW NEW
10 Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Warner 1 21

© Official Charts Company 2022

Warner’s ‘Elf’ Stands Tall Again on U.K. Home Entertainment Chart

Christmas is officially here, as Warner Home Video’s Elf stands tall at No. 1 on the Official Film Chart in the United Kingdom through Dec. 9, as the 2003 comedy with  Will Ferrell marks a second week atop the Top 10. The title added 30,000 unit sales, with 73% made up of digital downloads.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Last Christmas improved one place to No. 2, just a few thousand sales behind, while the studio’s The Grinch inched closer to the top, rising five places to No. 3.

One of the U.K.’s most treasured Christmas flicks, Love Actually, entered the Top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 4, while Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan dropped three to No. 5. Home Alone (20th Century Home Entertainment) soared up 28 places to its highest peak yet of No. 6, and Warner’s The Polar Express climbed eight spots to No. 7. Sam Mendes’ critically acclaimed World War I drama 1917 dropped one place to No. 8.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

A Christmas Gift From Bob — the sequel to 2016’s feel-good biographical film A Street Cat Named Bob — debuted at No. 9 following its release on disc by Lionsgate U.K. Finally, a 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc release from Warner of the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy entered the Official Film Chart for the first time at No. 10.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Dec. 9, 2020

Rank Previous Week
Title Studio
1 1 Elf Warner
2 3 Last Christmas Universal
3 8 The Grinch Universal
4 11 Love Actually Universal
5 2 Mulan (2020)
Disney
6 34 Home Alone Disney/20th Century
7 15 The Polar Express Warner
8 7 1917 Entertainment One
9 New A Christmas Gift From Bob Lionsgate U.K.
10 New The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Warner

© Official Charts Company 2020

Warner’s ‘Elf’ Climbs Atop Official U.K. Film Chart

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Elf climbed to No. 1 on the U.K. home entertainment Official Film Chart through Dec. 2. The 2003 movie starring Will Ferrell finished atop the weekly chart for the first time since the chart’s inception in 2018.

Disney’s live action remake of Mulan dropped to No. 2 after two weeks on the top rung. Last Christmas (Universal) held on at No. 3 as The Greatest Showman (20th Century) climbed seven spots to No. 4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm) soared 10 spots to No. 5 following the release of a new 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Steelbook edition.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

This week’s highest new entry was psychological thriller Unhinged (No. 6), starring Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorious. Entertainment One’s 1917 moved down one spot to No. 7, as did Jim Carrey in The Grinch at No. 8. Universal’s Trolls World Tour climbed seven spots to No. 9. Finally, Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis’ new festive rom-com, Happiest Season debuted at No. 10 on digital downloads only.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Dec. 2, 2020

Rank Last Week Title Studio
1 2 Elf Warner
2 1 Mulan Disney
3 3 Last Christmas Universal
4 11 The Greatest Showman 20th Century
5 15 Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker Disney
6 New Unhinged Altitude Spirit
7 6 1917 eOne
8 7 The Grinch Universal
9 16 Trolls World Tour DreamWorks Animation
10 New Happiest Season eOne

© Official Charts Company 2020