‘Stranger Things,’ ‘The Boys,’ ‘Umbrella Academy’ Lead on Parrot’s Digital Originals Demand Chart

Netflix’s supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. rankings the week ended July 1, as well as Parrot’s list of overall TV shows. The series had a 9% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, giving it 174 times the demand of an average series. The final two extra-long episodes of its fourth season debuted July 1, so it will likely see a huge increase in demand in the coming weeks as fans head to Netflix to watch them and discuss.

The Amazon Prime Video superhero series “The Boys” remained No. 2 on the digital originals chart as its third season continues. It had a 3.9% drop in demand expressions to give it 56.5 times average demand. “The Boys” was No. 3 on Parrot’s list of overall TV series.

Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” climbed to No. 3 on the digital originals chart with a 53.5% increase in demand expressions and 54.5 times the average series demand. “Umbrella Academy” was No. 4 on Parrot’s list of overall TV series.

Two Disney+ “Star Wars” series rounded out the top five. “The Mandalorian” was No. 4 with 37.2 times average demand after a 2.3% drop in demand expressions. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” dropped a spot to No. 5 with a 7.9% decline in demand expressions and 34.1 times average demand.

Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” jumped nine spots to take No. 10, with a 31.7% increase in demand expressions after its June 28 second-season premiere. It had 29.3 times the average series demand.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The top non-streaming overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” at No. 2 with 65.8 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

 

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-fi;
Not rated.
Stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Sung Kang, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Kumail Nanjiani, Grant Feely, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Jimmy Smits.

Shortly after Disney bought the rights to “Star Wars” and announced a series of spinoff films, the character fans most wanted to see return was Obi-Wan Kenobi as played by Ewan McGregor, to see what the Jedi master was up to in the decades between the prequels and the original trilogy.

So, naturally, Disney didn’t do that, instead making Rogue One, about the Rebels stealing the Death Star plans, and a movie about a young Han Solo that no one seemed interested in.

When Solo underperformed at the box office, Disney put all the spinoff movies on hold, including a rumored Kenobi trilogy, according to writer Stuart Beattie.

Had Disney started with the Kenobi movie in the first place, it might have established a solid foundation for the studio to make whatever spinoffs it wanted. Then again, given the lackluster writing of the sequel trilogy, maybe its delay was for the best.

Instead, “Star Wars” spinoffs were repurposed into fodder for the Disney+ streaming service following the massive success of “The Mandalorian.”

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Presented in six parts, the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series tells the story of Obi-Wan 10 years following his exile in Revenge of the Sith. Living in squalor on Tatooine under the name Ben, he has abandoned the Force and seems resigned to his fate under the reign of the Empire, carrying out perfunctory duties to keep an eye on young Luke Skywalker. While he pays lip service to the idea of one day training Luke to become a Jedi to oppose the Emperor, he seems to have no real plan to accomplish it, with his biggest obstacle being Luke’s uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton).

As the last remnants of the Jedi are hunted by Imperial Inquisitors, Obi-Wan remains in hiding, refusing to help. Yet he is guilted into action by his old friend Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) when Luke’s sister Leia is kidnapped from Alderaan. Leaving Tatooine to rescue the other twin who is key to future plans to defeat the Empire, Obi-Wan soon learns not only that her abduction was part of an Inquisitor’s plan to draw him out, but that his former student, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), survived their duel and is terrorizing the galaxy as Darth Vader.

To reclaim his purpose, Obi-Wan is forced to once again confront Vader.

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The “Obi-Wan” series plays a bit like “Star Wars” books did in the 1990s and early 2000s, filling in gaps in the storytelling of the movies. The show not only bridges the span between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but also seeks to explain some other inconsistencies between the original trilogy and the prequels (while possibly creating a few more along the way, but that’s easy enough to overlook). It is mostly successful in that regard, though the writing and direction isn’t as polished as it might have been had the project stayed a theatrical feature. When binged, the series runs about three hours and 45 minutes, not counting recaps and credits, feeling like a lengthy movie, but more like a fan film than a true epic.

Another letdown is the music. While John Williams returned to provide a marvelous theme for Ben that does most of the heavy lifting, the rest of the score by other composers feels more like generic action music, when there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate other existing themes from the “Star Wars” canon that aren’t really exploited until the final episode.

McGregor shines as Kenobi, delivering the emotion and pathos of a man dealing with the guilt of failing to stop the rise of the Emperor. It’s also great to see Christensen back as Anakin, and the scenes with Darth Vader are some of the best to feature the character in the entire “Star Wars” saga. The standout is Vivien Lyra Blair as li’l Leia, who demonstrates the sass and smarts of her future self but with a childlike curiosity about the universe. Pairing Leia with Ben proves to be an inspired choice, if for no other story reason than it explains why she would name her son after him despite having limited contact in the original films.

‘The Mandalorian’ Finale Views Reportedly Beat Final Episode of ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

Disney+ has struck streaming gold with original “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” The series have driven Disney+ subscriber growth and usage as the veritable “Star Wars” brand expands beyond legacy theatrical releases.

Reelgood compared the engagement and streaming activity of “The Book of Boba Fett,” “The Mandalorian,” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and indexed it against the average streaming and engagement activity of a Disney+ show. The streaming engagement is an aggregate of behavioral data on the Reelgood site and apps, including playback, tracking and other interactions.

Reelgood found that streamer response to the “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” featuring Ewan McGregor in the title role, has been impressive. The series had 144 times more engagement than the average TV show on Disney+ during its first two weeks since its May 27 debut. That compared with 86 times more engagement for the second-season debut of “The Mandalorian” on Oct. 30, 2020, and 74 times more engagement for the premiere of “The Book of Boba Fett” on Dec. 29, 2021.

That said, the season finale of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” generated 1.8 million households during the “live+4-day” window. That was 400,000 fewer households that streamed the final episode of “The Mandalorian” in the L+4D window.

“With this week’s conclusion of the Disney+ series, it’s clear that fans continue to be hungry for ‘Star Wars’ content, Cole Strain, VP of measurement products at Samba TV, said in a statement. “‘The Mandalorian’s’ already-established fanbase likely contributed to its higher level of viewer retention, while ‘Obi-Wan’ continues to build its following as a fan favorite.”

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Separately, 2.1 million U.S. households streamed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Disney+ during the L+4D window, while 2 million households streamed The Eternals during the L+4D window, and 2.1 million households watched Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

“Disney+ continues to bring in audiences to the Marvel franchise, and the draw is only building,” Strain said.

Meanwhile, 1.2 million U.S. households streamed the third season debut of “The Umbrella Academy” on Netflix during the L+4D window.

“About 413,000 households binged the entire season over the weekend, Strain said.

Disney+ to Bow ‘Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation’ Animated Special Aug. 5

The Disney+ streaming service Aug. 5 will premiere Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation, a new animated special from Lucasfilm and the Lego Group.

Set shortly after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Summer Vacation finds Finn arranging a surprise vacation for his friends Rey, Poe, Rose, Chewie, BB-8, R2-D2 and C-3PO aboard the Galactic Starcruiser, the Halcyon. But when Finn is separated from the group, he encounters three Force ghosts: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Leia Organa, who each share their own unexpected stories of vacations gone wrong, helping him to understand that holidays are about more than just having fun.

Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation features the voices of “Weird Al” Yankovic as Vic Vankoh; Yvette Nicole Brown as Colvett Valeria; Thomas Lennon as Wick Cooper; Paul F. Tompkins as Rad; Dee Bradley Baker as Boba Fett; Ashly Burch as the Tour Droid; Kyliegh Curran as Sidero; Anthony Daniels as C-3PO; Trevor Devall as Emperor Palpatine; Allie Feder as Sy Snootles; Jake Green as Poe Dameron; Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker; Ross Marquand as Han Solo; Omar Miller as Finn; Kevin Michael Richardson as Jabba the Hutt; Matt Sloan as Darth Vader; James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi; Kelly Marie Tran as Rose; Helen Sadler as Rey Skywalker; Billy Dee Williams as Lando; Matthew Wood as Ben Solo; and Shelby Young as Leia Organa.

In addition, the special includes the new original song “Scarif Beach Party” performed by Yankovic. A trailer for the special debuted June 21 and features the new song.

This will be the third Disney+ “Lego Star Wars” episode, following 2020’s Lego Star Wars Holiday Special and 2021’s Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales.

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Report: ‘Star Wars’ Video Games Most Popular Nationwide

While the video game industry continues to see sequential monthly sales declines, a new study contends that “Star Wars”-based video games are the most popular in America, with seven states recording major increases in online searches for the franchise.

The study, conducted by online gaming platform Yahtzee Craze, analyzed Google Trends to discover the top trending titles that appear alongside searches for “video games” to discover which ones gamers have been Googling more than any other in each state.

“Star Wars” games trended the most in Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota and West Virginia, as well as Colorado, where the top search was for the series “Star Wars: Jedi” and in Massachusetts, where the most-searched title included “Lego Star Wars.”

The second most-popular game franchise is Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.,” ranking tops in Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming. Specifically, the “Mario Bros.” brand trended high in Alabama and Texas, while “Super Mario Bros.” was tops in Nevada and Wyoming. The Japanese franchise made its debut in 1983 with Mario Bros. (a spinoff of 1981’s Donkey Kong), and is still one of the most-played video games in the world.

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“Pokémon” trended highly in four states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Rhode Island, while Marvel’s “Spider-Man” trended tops in Connecticut, Illinois, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Further down the list: “Resident Evil” trended tops in three states, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Washington, while the venerable shooter franchise, “Call of Duty,” topped search in New York, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

“Video games have never been more popular, and this data reveals that there is an impressively broad range of titles that Americans are keen to play,” Yahtzee said in a statement. “Overall, it’s very encouraging for the video game industry, and great for fans who have such a wide range of popular titles to choose from.

Trending video games franchises in each state by game

Game franchises Number of states
Star Wars 7
Mario 5
Pokémon, Spider Man 4
Resident Evil, Call of Duty 3
Warhammer 40,000, The Last of Us, Halo, Madden NFL, FIFA 2
Red Dead, Among Us, The Elder Scrolls, New World, GTA, Sonic the Hedgehog, Uncharted, Battlefield, The Witcher, Far Cry, Batman, LEGO, Assassin’s Creed 1

‘Stranger Things’ Still No. 1 on Parrot’s Demand Chart; ‘Obi-Wan’ Up to No. 3

Netflix’s supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. rankings by a wide margin the week ended June 3, as well as Parrot’s list of overall TV shows. The series had a 105.6% rise in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, pushing it to 210.1 times the demand of an average series. Netflix May 27 released the first seven episodes of the fourth season.

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained No. 2 on the digital originals chart, grabbing 42.8 times average demand after a 13.5% rise in demand expressions. “The Mandalorian” was No. 8 on Parrot’s list of overall TV series.

The newest Disney+ “Star Wars” series, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” finally climbed into the digital originals top 10 at No. 3. It had 39.2 times average demand after a 97.8% increase in demand following its May 27 premiere of its first two episodes, and third episode arriving June 1. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” was No. 9 on Parrot’s list of overall TV series.

HBO Max’s pirate comedy “Our Flag Means Death” remained No. 4. The show had 33.8 times average demand after a 2.6% drop in demand expressions.

The Paramount+ sci-fi series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” stayed No. 5, with demand expressions down 0.7% to give it 32.7 times average demand.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The top non-streaming overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” at No. 2 with 71.3 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

 

‘Andor,’ ‘Willow’ Trailers Among Lucasfilm’s Disney+ Content Announcements at Star Wars Celebration

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Lucasfilm Studio Showcase on the main stage of the 2022 Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center May 26 included a few surprises among the announcement of release dates for several anticipated Disney+ series.

The primary announcement was that the new “Star Wars” series “Andor” will launch exclusively on the Disney+ streaming service Aug. 31 with two episodes. Fans in attendance were also shown a trailer for the series, which stars Diego Luna, who reprises his role as Rebel spy Cassian Andor in a prequel to the 2016 film Rogue One.

The first season will include 12 episodes and delve into Andor’s path to becoming a hero of the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire. A second season of 12 episodes will reportedly continue Andor’s story leading into the events of Rogue One, which dealt with the Rebels who stole the Death Star plans just before the events of the original 1977 Star Wars film.

The cast also includes Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Denise Gough and Kyle Soller. The executive producers are Kathleen Kennedy, Sanne Wohlenberg, Diego Luna and Michelle Rejwan. Tony Gilroy is the creator and showrunner.

From Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment comes the fantasy-adventure series “Willow,” based on the 1988 film of the same name directed by Ron Howard. “Willow” will premiere Nov. 30 on Disney+.

Warwick Davis returns to play Willow Ufgood in the series from executive producers Jonathan Kasdan, Ron Howard, Wendy Mericle, Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan.

Disney+ series “Willow”

In a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures flourish, the adventure continues, as an unlikely group of heroes set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home, where they must face their inner demons and come together to save their world.

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Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni at Star Wars Celebration 2022 in Anaheim, Calif.

In addition, “Star Wars” TV gurus Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni took the stage to confirm that Disney+ flagship series “The Mandalorian” will return for its third season in February 2023. A clip shown exclusively to fans in attendance showed the story will deal with the title character’s quest to the planet Mandalore to regain his lost honor. The season will also feature fallen Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan, played by Katee Sackhoff, who made a surprise appearance on stage to thank fans for their support.

Filoni said “Mandalorian” spinoff series “Ahsoka” is currently filming and also is on track for a 2023 premiere. The show focuses on former Jedi Ahsoka Tano and stars Rosario Dawson, who appeared in a video greeting in costume.

Favreau and Filoni then introduced a new “Star Wars” project for Disney+ called “Skeleton Crew” from director Jon Watts and screenwriter Christopher Ford. Watts is a long-time collaborator of Favreau, having directed him in the three Marvel Cinematic Universe “Spider-Man” movies, while Ford co-wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming. Watts, Ford, Favreau and Filoni will also serve as executive producers of “Skeleton Crew,” which will be set in the post-Return of the Jedi era of “The Mandalorian” and focuses on four children who are lost in the “Star Wars” galaxy and trying to make their way home. Watts also announced Jude Law is attached as one of the stars of the series, which he said should premiere in 2023 as well.

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To wrap up the Lucasfilm presentation, studio president Kathleen Kennedy introduced legendary “Star Wars” composer John Williams, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday and was on hand to conduct a performance of his new theme for the Disney+ “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series debuting May 27 (Disney+ subsequently moved up the debut to the evening of May 26). Williams then played the iconic “Indiana Jones” theme as Harrison Ford made his way onto the stage.

Ford announced that the fifth “Indiana Jones” movie will premiere in theaters June 30, 2023.

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Series Hitting Disney+ May 27

“Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the new Disney+ limited series from Lucasfilm, will debut exclusively on the streaming service May 27.

The series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master.

The story begins 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

The series also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.

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“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor and Joby Harold.

The series was originally set to premiere May 25, the 45th anniversary of the theatrical premiere of the original Star Wars in 1977. However, in a video announcement posted March 31, McGregor announced that Disney+ was pushing series premiere back two days to Friday, May 27, but will make the first two of six planned episode available that day. The new Friday release date coincides with the Star Wars Celebration fan event taking place May 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif.

Disney+ Unveils Teaser Trailer for Upcoming Series ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

Disney+ has released the teaser trailer for its upcoming limited series “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which launches exclusively on the streaming service on May 25.

The story begins 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, in which Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. 

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The new series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master, and also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie. 

“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is directed by Deborah Chow and executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor and Joby Harold.

 

Disney+ Launches ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ With New Character-Study Featurette

Disney+ Dec. 29 debuted a new featurette for “The Book of Boba Fett,” the streamer’s much-ballyhooed “Star Wars” spinoff series that launches the same day.

In the new featurette, “Being Boba Fett,” filmmakers Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez, along with star Temuera Morrison, take a look at the Boba Fett character and what Morrison brings to the role of the mysterious bounty hunter.

“The Book of Boba Fett,” from Lucasfilm, concludes its seven-episode run in February. The series follows bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand as they navigate the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate.

“The Book of Boba Fett” stars Morrison and Ming-Na Wen. Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson are the executive producers. Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck serve as co-executive producers, with John Bartnicki producing and John Hampian as co-producer.