Streaming hits – 2012 edition

As has become customary on, January is the time when I look at the streaming market through the Box Office Lens (for reference, here’s data from 2011 and 2010). So it’s time to pick up the 2012 list of box office hits and take the same look.

2012: A subscription odyssey

This year saw the rise of a potential competitor to Netflix in Amazon Prime, as the retail giant started offering an all-you can-eat buffet of movie and TV shows. For each movie of the top 100 movies at the box office, I pulled data on for streaming info on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I also pulled up availability of DVDs to use as a yardstick in terms of overall movie availability. The final chart looked like this:

RankTitleStudioNetflixAmazon PrimeDVD
1Marvel’s The AvengersBVNoNoYes
2The Dark Knight RisesWBNoNoYes
3The Hunger GamesLGFNoNoYes
5The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2Sum.NoNoNo
6The Amazing Spider-ManSonyNoNoYes
7The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyWBNoNoNo
10Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most WantedP/DWNoNoYes
11Dr. Seuss’ The LoraxUni.NoNoYes
12MIB 3SonyNoNoYes
13Wreck-It RalphBVNoNoNo
14Ice Age: Continental DriftFoxNoNoYes
15Snow White and the HuntsmanUni.NoNoYes
16Hotel TransylvaniaSonyNoNoNo
17Taken 2FoxNoNoYes
1821 Jump StreetSonyNoNoYes
21Safe HouseUni.NoNoYes
22The VowSGemNoNoYes
23Magic MikeWBNoNoYes
24The Bourne LegacyUni.NoNoYes
26Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandWBNoNoYes
27Rise of the GuardiansP/DWNoNoNo
29Think Like a ManSGemNoNoYes
30Life of PiFoxNoNoNo
31The CampaignWBNoNoYes
32The Expendables 2LGFNoNoYes
33Wrath of the TitansWBNoNoYes
34Les Miserables (2012)Uni.NoNoNo
35Dark ShadowsWBNoNoYes
36Django UnchainedWein.NoNoNo
37John CarterBVNoNoYes
38Act of ValorRela.YesNoYes
41Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness ProtectionLGFNoNoYes
43Mirror MirrorRela.YesNoYes
44Chronicle (2012)FoxNoNoYes
45Pitch PerfectUni.NoNoYes
46Hope SpringsSonyNoNoYes
47Underworld AwakeningSGemNoNoYes
48The Lucky OneWBNoNoYes
49The DictatorPar.NoNoYes
50Total Recall (2012)SonyNoNoYes
51Titanic 3DPar.NoNoNo
52American ReunionUni.NoNoNo
54This Means WarFoxNoNoYes
55Project XWBNoNoYes
56The Woman in BlackCBSNoNoYes
57Paranormal Activity 4Par.NoNoNo
58The Devil InsidePar.YesYesYes
59Jack ReacherPar.NoNoNo
60The Odd Life of Timothy GreenBVNoNoYes
61Ghost Rider: Spirit of VengeanceSonyNoNoYes
62The GreyORFYesNoYes
63Red TailsFoxNoNoYes
64The PossessionLGFNoNoYes
65Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysFoxNoNoYes
67Beauty and the Beast (3D)BVNoNoYes
68Savages (2012)Uni.NoNoYes
69The Best Exotic Marigold HotelFoxSNoNoYes
70Moonrise KingdomFocusNoNoYes
71The Three StoogesFoxNoNoYes
72Here Comes the BoomSonyNoNoYes
73Red Dawn (2012)FDNoNoNo
74Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (in 3D)FoxNoNoNo
75This Is 40Uni.NoNoNo
76Resident Evil: RetributionSGemNoNoYes
77The Cabin in the WoodsLGFNoNoYes
78What to Expect When You’re ExpectingLGFNoNoYes
79Finding Nemo (3D)BVNoNoNo
80End of WatchORFNoNoYes
81Rock of AgesWB (NL)NoNoYes
82Parental GuidanceFoxNoNoNo
83Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterFoxNoNoYes
85That’s My BoySonyNoNoYes
86Trouble with the CurveWBNoNoYes
87The WatchFoxNoNoYes
88Step Up RevolutionSum.NoNoYes
89Tyler Perry’s Good DeedsLGFNoNoYes
912016 Obama’s AmericaRMNoNoYes
92House at the End of The StreetRela.NoNoYes
93The Pirates! Band of MisfitsSonyNoNoYes
94Joyful NoiseWBNoNoYes
95Silver Linings PlaybookWein.NoNoNo
97The Five-Year EngagementUni.NoNoYes
98Cloud AtlasWBNoNoNo
99One For the MoneyLGFYesYesYes
100Alex CrossSum.NoNoYes

At first look, the subscription based business doesn’t see to be where you want to go if you are looking for the latest hits. Of the top 100 movies at the box office in 2012, Netflix had 5 and Amazon Prime had 2. By comparison, 77 of those movies were available for rent on DVD (if you still have a corner rental place, that is). Let’s grade on the curve and assume that 77 is the number of movies we can expect to see available as the other 23 are still in theater. That would mean that Netflix saw 6.5% availability while Amazon prime saw 2.6% availability. The only thing we can assume, from there is that online subscription services are not the type of place you want to go to if you are looking to see movies that came out in the previous year. As the two services are looking to develop their catalog, it looks as if they decided that the first 12 months after release of a movie do not figure in their existing business plan and that consumers will go find such movies somewhere else.


So while it’s clear that the rental market is not so great, how is the internet VOD market doing? Over the last year, we’ve see the entry of YouTube into the VOD market, offering titles for $3.99-4.99. Also, last year, some readers felt that I had unfairly left Blockbuster out so I’ve added them. At the current time, only Vudu offers 3D title but because it does offer such titles, I decided to only include availability on a 3D re-release of an old title (eg. The Phantom Menace) if it is available as a streaming 3D title (However, titles that were new in both 2D and 3D this year were accepted if one of the format was available):

1Marvel’s The AvengersBVYesYesYesYesNoYes
2The Dark Knight RisesWBYesYesYesYesYesYes
3The Hunger GamesLGFPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoPurchase onlyYes
5The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2Sum.NoNoNoNoNoNo
6The Amazing Spider-ManSonyYesYesYesYesYesYes
7The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyWBNoNoNoNoNoNo
10Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most WantedP/DWYesYesYesNoNoYes
11Dr. Seuss’ The LoraxUni.YesYesYesYesNoYes
12MIB 3SonyYesYesYesYesYesYes
13Wreck-It RalphBVNoNoNoNoNoNo
14Ice Age: Continental DriftFoxYesYesNoYesYesYes
15Snow White and the HuntsmanUni.NoNoYesNoYesYes
16Hotel TransylvaniaSonyNoNoNoNoNoNo
17Taken 2FoxPurchase onlyNoNoNoNoYes
1821 Jump StreetSonyPurchase onlyNoPurchase onlyNoPurchase onlyYes
21Safe HouseUni.NoYesNoNoNoYes
22The VowSGemNoNoNoNoNoYes
23Magic MikeWBYesYesYesYesYesYes
24The Bourne LegacyUni.YesYesYesYesYesYes
26Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandWBNoNoNoNoNoYes
27Rise of the GuardiansP/DWNoNoNoNoNoNo
29Think Like a ManSGemYesYesYesNoYesYes
30Life of PiFoxNoNoNoNoNoNo
31The CampaignWBYesYesYesYesYesYes
32The Expendables 2LGFYesNoYesYesYesYes
33Wrath of the TitansWBNoNoNoNoNoYes
34Les Miserables (2012)Uni.NoNoNoNoNoNo
35Dark ShadowsWBYesYesYesYesYesYes
36Django UnchainedWein.NoNoNoNoNoNo
37John CarterBVPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
38Act of ValorRela.YesYesYesYesNoYes
41Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness ProtectionLGFNoNoNoNoNoYes
43Mirror MirrorRela.YesYesNoYesNoYes
44Chronicle (2012)FoxPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
45Pitch PerfectUni.YesYesYesYesYesYes
46Hope SpringsSonyYesYesYesYesYesYes
47Underworld AwakeningSGemPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoPurchase onlyYes
48The Lucky OneWBYesYesYesYesNoYes
49The DictatorPar.YesNoYesYesNoYes
50Total Recall (2012)SonyYesYesYesYesYesYes
51Titanic 3DPar.NoNoNoNoNoNo
52American ReunionUni.NoNoNoNoNoNo
54This Means WarFoxPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
55Project XWBNoNoNoNoNoYes
56The Woman in BlackCBSPurchase onlyNoYesNoNoYes
57Paranormal Activity 4Par.NoNoNoNoNoNo
58The Devil InsidePar.YesPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
59Jack ReacherPar.NoNoNoNoNoNo
60The Odd Life of Timothy GreenBVYesYesYesYesNoYes
61Ghost Rider: Spirit of VengeanceSonyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoPurchase onlyYes
62The GreyORFYesYesYesYesNoYes
63Red TailsFoxPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
64The PossessionLGFNoNoNoNoNoYes
65Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysFoxYesYesYesYesYesYes
67Beauty and the Beast (3D)BVNoNoNoNoNoYes
68Savages (2012)Uni.YesYesYesYesYesYes
69The Best Exotic Marigold HotelFoxSYesYesYesYesYesYes
70Moonrise KingdomFocusYesYesYesYesYesYes
71The Three StoogesFoxNoPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
72Here Comes the BoomSonyNoNoNoNoNoYes
73Red Dawn (2012)FDNoNoNoNoNoNo
74Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (in 3D)FoxNoNoNoNoNoNo
75This Is 40Uni.NoNoNoNoNoNo
76Resident Evil: RetributionSGemYesNoYesYesYesYes
77The Cabin in the WoodsLGFYesYesYesYesYesYes
78What to Expect When You’re ExpectingLGFYesYesYesYesYesYes
79Finding Nemo (3D)BVNoNoNoNoNoNo
80End of WatchORFNoNoNoNoNoYes
81Rock of AgesWB (NL)YesYesYesYesNoYes
82Parental GuidanceFoxNoNoNoNoNoNo
83Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterFoxYesYesYesYesYesYes
85That’s My BoySonyYesYesYesYesYesYes
86Trouble with the CurveWBYesYesYesYesYesYes
87The WatchFoxPurchase onlyYesYesYesYesYes
88Step Up RevolutionSum.YesYesYesYesYesYes
89Tyler Perry’s Good DeedsLGFPurchase onlyPurchase onlyYesNoNoYes
912016 Obama’s AmericaRMYesYesYesYesYesYes
92House at the End of The StreetRela.Purchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoYes
93The Pirates! Band of MisfitsSonyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoPurchase onlyYes
94Joyful NoiseWBNoNoNoNoNoYes
95Silver Linings PlaybookWein.NoNoNoNoNoNo
97The Five-Year EngagementUni.YesYesYesYesYesYes
98Cloud AtlasWBNoNoNoNoNoNo
99One For the MoneyLGFPurchase onlyPurchase onlyPurchase onlyNoNoYes
100Alex CrossSum.NoNoNoNoNoYes

Let’s aggregate the data to get a better view of what we’re looking at here. The values shown are for rental availability. I’ve put purchasable titles in parentheses:

Top 106 (+1) 6 (+1)6 (+1)53 (+1)7
Top 2512 (+3)13 (+1)12 (+2)69 (+2)18
Top 5025 (+6)24 (+4)24 (+5)1818 (+3)38
Top 10044 (+15)44 (+13)46 (+13)38 (+1)32 (+5)77

Looking at the aggregate data, it is clear that there is still progress to be made. While 77 of the top 100 movies at the box office in 2012 were available on DVD at the beginning of January 2013, you could only rent up to 46 online. Let’s assume, for a minute, that the DVD data represents total availability because the other movies are still in theater (though a case could be made for release movies online simultaneously). Based on that data, what’s the percentage of available blockbusters:

Top 1085% 85%85%71%43%
Top 2566%72%66%33%50%
Top 5066%63%63%47%47%
Top 10044%44%46%38%32%

This data presents a very sad picture indeed. Less than half of the movies being made available on DVD are available for online streaming, which means that availability of such titles online is limited and will probably lead to increased piracy. Notable also is how far behind Blockbuster seems to be falling in the space. While Apple (iTunes), Amazon, and WalMart (Vudu) seem to be moving in near conjunction, Blockbuster seems to be falling further and further behind, placing 5th after YouTube, which only entered the business this year. The lack of presence on most consumer electronic seems to speak to the other end of the problem for Blockbuster and I would not be surprised if it abandoned online streaming in the future.

But what does this look like from a trending perspective? To do so, I’ve pulled the data for the top 100 movies from 2010 and  2011 and added in this year’s data:


What’s interesting here is that we are seeing a relatively consistant pattern, with an average of 44-46 blockbusters available for legal online streaming yearly while we see around 75 blockbusters available on DVD.

But what do things look like when you factor in sales:


The picture does not get any clearer when you factor in sales data. We are seeing titles being sold as digital copies at a slower pace than their equivalent on plastic disks. With 3 years of data now available, we can observe that there does not seem to be any growth at all in either models and that studios appear wary of the internet. From a business standpoint, it’s unclear why we’re not seeing parity here. After all, an increasing number of people are turning to streaming as the alternative to DVD and it seems that studios are , at best, leaving money on the table or, in the worst case scenario, encouraging piracy. One can only hope that 2013 will be the year when we might see some changes in that space as it concerns legal streaming of data.


2012 seems to have been a flat year when it comes to making progress in offering online content. While the subscription model seems to have avoided presenting popular titles, the VOD business seems to be stagnating with large parts of the catalog still sitting on the sideline. The most surprising finding is probably how the industry now seem to be stagnating when it comes to offering new titles online at the same rate as they’re presenting them on DVD and BluRay. It appears Hollywood is still skittish about the power of the internet and, as a result, may be encouraging further piracy of their titles as they refuse to provide legal ways to acquire the content online.

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