Netflix: Despite All Its Original Content, an Animated Movie from 2012 Dominated in Summer 2020

As more streaming services hit the market, the fate of Netflix is continually called into question. The streamer was once the clear winner among its contemporaries. And yet, Netflix has persisted with a wide variety of movies and shows. Yet, none of its original programming became its most popular. Rather, subscribers flocked to an older movie in summer 2020.

Netflix logo is seen displayed on TV screen
Netflix logo is seen displayed on TV screen | Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Streaming services have taken center stage during the pandemic

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took hold, streaming services had a new opportunity to appeal to audiences with nowhere to go. As social distancing and self-isolation became more common, companies like Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video aimed to capitalize.

Moreover, new streaming services like Peacock and HBO Max ensured their potential viewership has plenty of content available to stream in the meantime. And with movie theaters shut down, studios even chose to send some of their 2020 theatrical releases straight to on-demand.

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Netflix subscribed enjoyed a variety of content in summer 2020

As for Netflix, the streaming service flooded its own library with a ton of original content. Shows such as Floor Is Lava and The Umbrella Academy made headlines for keeping subscribers entertained. But Netflix also saw plenty of success with its original movies too.

Thanks to the launch of Netflix’s Top 10 feature, Forbes estimated which movies are most often watched on the streaming service. And the results present a pretty even balance of Netflix originals and licensed content. And the site recently released a look back at summer 2020.

Of course, much-talked-about hits such as The Old Guard, The Kissing Booth 2, and Fatal Affair were all among the most popular selections. And even non-Netflix exclusives like Polish drama 365 Days, romantic comedy How Do You Know, and animated hit Despicable Me got plenty of love from users.

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But the most popular film was an animated hit from 2012

Barely sneaking past 365 Days to take the top spot is The Lorax. Released by Universal in 2012, the animated musical is based on the children’s book by Dr. Seuss. Along with Despicable Me, it’s the second movie in the top 10 that Illumination Entertainment produced.

Most Netflix subscribers might not expect an eight-year-old movie to be the most popular on the streaming service. But taking into account how children are home from school in the summer and indoors more than usual, it stands to reason why The Lorax would be an attractive choice.

Of course, the pandemic has made a definitive impact on Netflix subscriber viewing habits. For instance, 1995 thriller Outbreak — which deals with a public health crisis — saw a huge spike in views earlier in 2020.