news Four Originals Debut in Netflix Top Ten — but Not ‘Bardo’

The pre-holiday report on home viewing on both VOD platforms and at Netflix reveals two things: it’s continuing to look a lot like Christmas and a pair of new films from double Oscar best director winners are getting less than top-tier viewing at this point.

Most noticeably, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Bardo,” following prime earlier festival showings and multiple weeks in limited theater play, has not yet showed up on Netflix’s Top Ten. Released last Friday, it is not among the four new other originals from the streamer that do rank this week.

Chances are most people who follow festival- and awards-aimed titles haven’t heard of any of these films for which the public has more interest. Number one is Rory Kennedy’s documentary “The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari.” Seasonal rom-com “I Believe in Christmas” debuts at #3. “The Big 4,” an action title from Indonesia is #5. “Who Killed Santa?: A Murderville Mystery” enters at #8. And U.S. premiere (after earlier theatrical play elsewhere) “Belleville Cop” from France, starring Omar Sy and directed by Rachid Bouchareb (“Days of Glory”), is #6.

Meantime, Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” (Universal) which, after six weekends including four in wider (though still more limited) release, has grossed under $9 million had a mixed initial showing. It is #4 at Vudu (which ranks by revenue), currently #5 at iTunes (it peaked at #3), but is not in Googlep Play’s top ten (it, like iTunes ranking by transactions, usually reacts more slowly and with less interest in adult-themed titles).

That’s not a bad initial response for a film with such a low gross. But recent comparisons from Universal — “Bros” and “She Said” (both $19.99), which came out two weeks earlier in their runs and both of which had lower grosses — actually had slightly better initial performances.

THE FABELMANS, from left: Gabriel LaBelle, Judd Hirsch, 2022. ph: Merie Weismiller Wallace / © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Fabelmans”

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

The period right before Christmas can be a challenge for at-home casual viewing, more so for adult-oriented titles. That said, the initial response for “Fabelmans” suggests that so far interest in the director’s teenage years, despite strong reviews and ongoing expectations of awards attention, remains far less than expected.

“Black Adam” (Warner Bros. Discovery/$19.99) remains #1 at Vudu and Google Play, though it just has been added to HBO Max. Again, iTunes reacts more quickly and, in an oddity despite its lead elsewhere, doesn’t make their top ten.

They have “The Grinch” (Universal/$3.99) at #1, with the 2o17 animated film second and third elsewhere. The 2000 live-action “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (Universal/$3.99) placed twice, as high as #2 at iTunes. “Elf” (WBD/$3.99) joined “The Grinch” as one of only three films (“The Woman King”/Sony, reduced to $5.99) on all three charts.

The sole new other entry this week was “Prey for the Devil” (Lionsgate/$19.99), #2 at Vudu and there only. Universal’s “Violent Night” debuts Tuesday just in time for Christmas.

“Prisoners” dropped to #2 at Netflix, “Bullet Train” is still #4 a few weeks in. Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” is #6, and turning out to be a steady performer. It is doing even better worldwide.

iTunes and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for December 19. Distributors listed are current rights owners. Prices for all titles are for rental.


1. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal) – $3.99

3. The Woman King (Sony) – $5.99

4. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $4.99

5. The Fabelmans (Universal) – $19.99

6. Elf (WBD) – $3.99

7. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Universal) – $9.99

8. Avatar (Disney) – $3.99

9. Triangle of Sadness (Neon) – $5.99

10. The Holiday (Sony) – $3.99

Google Play​

1. Black Adam (WBD) – $19.99

2. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

3. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) – $4.49

4. The Woman King (Sony) – $5.99

5. Elf (WBD) – $3.99

6. Smile (Paramount) – $5.99

7. Nope (Universal) – $5.99

8. Bullet Train (Sony) – $5.99

9. The Polar Express (WBD) – $3.99

10. Avatar (Disney) – $3.99


Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, which elevates Premium VOD titles. This list covers December 12-18

1. Black Adam (WBD) – $19.99

2. Prey for the Devil (Lionsgate) – $19.99

3. The Grinch (Universal) – $3.99

4. The Fabelmans (Universal) – $19.99

5. The Woman King (Sony) – $5.99

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal) – $3.99

7. Spider-Man: No Way Home (extended version) – $8.99

8. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) – $19.99

9. Elf (WBD) – $3.99

10. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) – $19.99

Netflix Movies​

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s daily chart on Monday, December 19. Originals include both Netflix-produced and acquired titles it initially presents in the U.S. Netflix publishes its own weekly top 10 on Tuesdays based on time viewed.

1. The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari (Netflix original documentary)

2. Prisoners (2013 theatrical release)

3. I Believe in Santa (Netflix original)

4. Bullet Train (2022 theatrical release)

5. The Big 4 (Indonesian Netflix original)

6. Pinocchio (Netflix original animated film)

7. A Bad Moms Christmas (2017 theatrical release)

8. Belleville Cop (French 2018 theatrical release, U.S. premiere)

9. Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Mystery (Netflix original)

10. Storks (2016 theatrical release)