Basic cable may be teeming with licensed movies from the past decade, but 1990s movies like “Bad Boys” and “Titanic” got the most plays there last year, according to new research from IHS Screen Digest.
The 1995 actioner starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence was played 75 times across at least eight different cable networks in 2011. But the 1997 Oscar winner logged more total minutes because of its 194-minute running time, playing 55 times on five nets.
NBCUniversal-owned E! alone played both movies over a dozen times each in 2011. But they were no match for 2007’s “Knocked Up,” which played 53 times on E! alone that year.
AMC Networks was the only content company running more licensed movies than original programming despite the wealth of dramas on AMC.
The rise of streaming services like Netflix has done little to dull basic cable’s interest in licensing movies, according to the research, which counted 10,000 different titles across 79 different channels — enough to comprise 13.5% of total TV time in 2011.
A little over half of those movies were released after Jan. 1, 2000, while another fifth came from the previous decade. Other durable 1990s titles include “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (1993) and “Billy Madison” (1995). But don’t count out the 1980s from the top 10 entirely: 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” played 54 times last year on VH1 Classics.
Another honorable mention: 2007 Mark Wahlberg vehicle “Rock Star,” which tied “Bad Boys” with 75 total plays, including 37 times on VH1 Classics.
IHS Screen Digest analyst Erik Brannon deemed basic cable’s appetite for movies “insatiable” but justified considering the durability of the pay-TV business.