‘Tiger King’ Is Netflix’s Most Popular U.S. Original of 2020

Netflix top originals
Yinchen Niu

Joe Exotic may be in federal prison, but he is the king of Netflix in 2020.

Data from streaming analysis firm FlixPatrol, which looks at the daily positions in the Netflix U.S. top 10 most popular originals list for the first 28 days from release (as of 12/22), showed that “Tiger King” squeaked by “The Queen’s Gambit” to claim the top spot, with just two points separating them. That does mean, though, that “Gambit” is the top scripted original, coming ahead of “The Umbrella Academy,” “Outer Banks” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor.”

Among Netflix originals, only one movie — Adam Sandler’s “Hubie Halloween” — made it into the top 10. This reflects the advantage TV has in the ranking over movies, which are often watched in one sitting, whereas a series is typically consumed over a period of days. But that shows just how popular the movies making their way into the top 20 were among subscribers. In total, five Netflix movies ranked in the top 20 most popular originals.

When looking solely at the most popular Netflix original TV series, the most popular overarching genre is drama, accounting for 22 of the top 50. Within drama, the most popular sub-genres were relationship with five, led by “Emily in Paris,” and Fantasy — led by “The Order” — and Period (“The Crown”), each with four entries.

“Space Force” is the highest ranked comedy, tied with juggernaut “Ozark” in sixth place with 232 points. That’s particularly noteworthy considering the bad reviews the show was receiving from critics, showing that audiences thought differently.

No one genre dominates movies, with 15 dramas and 13 comedies in the top 50. There are five documentaries, led by “The Social Dilemma,” and five thrillers, with July’s “Fatal Affair” the highest rated with 98 points. Holiday movies also made their way onto the list, for a total of four, with “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” the pick of the bunch.

This data shows the vast breadth of Netflix’s content offering. No other streaming service has anywhere near the number of originals as Netflix, to the degree that it would be impossible to conduct a top 50 movies and top series analysis for any other. This is a key factor in Netflix’s dominance and looks unlikely to change in 2021.