Data: Apple’s 2021 Oscar Hopefuls Rank Among Its Most Watched Titles

Data: Apple’s 2021 Oscar Hopefuls Rank
Cheyne Gateley/VIP

Apple’s new original film “Cherry,” starring Tom Holland, has a chance to extend its recent streak of crowd-pleasing 2021 Oscar hopefuls. 

That’s suggested by data provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform from connected TV analytics firm TVision, which showed that “Greyhound,” “Palmer” and “On the Rocks” represented three of the top five most watched Apple TV+ titles between Nov. 1, 2019, and Feb. 26, 2021. 

“Greyhound” nabbed the no. 3 ranking with an indexed audience-size figure of 276, meaning viewership of it was nearly 2.8 times greater than viewership of the average Apple TV+ title TVision measured between the service’s launch and Feb. 26.

TVision determines viewing impressions by counting viewers who have watched a title for at least two minutes within a session of watching content for at least five minutes. 

“Palmer” (indexed audience size of 256) and “On the Rocks” (184) were the fourth and fifth most watched Apple TV+ titles, respectively.  

The suggested performance of these three titles is promising, as it implies a decent number of Apple’s recent higher-profile original films have appealed to many users in addition to generating the awards chatter we’ve already seen. 

For example, the Tom Hanks starrer “Greyhound” was considered a mid-tier Oscar contender for Best Sound by Variety film awards editor Clayton Davis earlier in February. Davis also earlier in January included “Palmer” in his list of six 2021 films that could be Oscar contenders.

“On the Rocks” might be Apple’s best hope at the 2021 Best Picture award, according to predictions made by Davis in late February. 

“Greyhound,” “Palmer” and “On the Rocks” greatly outperformed early Apple original films like “Beastie Boys Story” (April 2019 release) and “The Elephant Queen” (November 2019), further demonstrating the relative strength of Apple’s late 2020/early 2021 film slate.

TVision’s data also seems to mesh with early reports suggesting the strength of recent Apple TV+ films.  

Variety after the “Palmer” debut in late January reported Apple TV+ notched its most-watched weekend since launch thanks in part to the Justin Timberlake-led film. Deadline following the July 10 “Greyhound” release reported the Tom Hanks film generated “the largest opening weekend ever for Apple TV+.” 

It’s clear why (at least in part) Apple has been so lenient with its free trials recently, extending them for some from late 2020 into February 2021: The company has been bullish on how its films would perform with viewers.  

We argued before the “Palmer” opening weekend news broke that it would soon become clear why Apple again decided to extend its free trials.  

And “Cherry” may have already hit theaters after getting dunked on pretty seriously in some prior reviews, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the movie still can’t put up numbers when it debuts on Apple TV+ in March.