December Insights From Cinelytic

‘Tis the Season! As 2022 comes to an end, we take a look at how holiday focused titles have fared over the past two years in regard to streaming performance

Holiday movies have been a key component of winter celebrations for Americans since IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET captured the hearts of millions between 1946 and 1947. Since that time, each decade through the end of the 20th century has provided audiences with at least one holiday classic. Films like WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954), A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (1965), SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN (1970), A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983), SCROOGED (1988), DIE HARD (1988), A CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989), HOME ALONE (1990), HOME ALONE 2 (1992), THE SANTA CLAUSE (1994) and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000) serve as proof that each generation was able to produce content that has both stood the test of time and is consistently rewatched during the festive months.

Since the turn of the century however, outside of one single year, Hollywood hasn’t been able to churn out a single iconic release tied to this season. In 2003 alone, moviegoers were treated to BAD SANTA, LOVE ACTUALLY and ELF, and while two of these share a target demographic that is geared more toward adults, all three can be considered classics. Despite numerous attempts since then, whether it be with titles like THE POLAR EXPRESS in 2004, THE HOLIDAY in 2006 or FOUR CHRISTMASES in 2008, it’s no longer a safe bet to assume that more recent holiday movies will be rewatched for decades.


Since the onset of the streaming era, which had its dominance expedited during the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as though the major platforms consistently oversaturate their users with an overwhelming selection of holiday films that include both new releases and reruns of old favorites. Often, these new projects feature low budgets, “washed-up” or lesser-known actors, and cheesy predictable storylines. Despite this, each year still seems to provide consumers with at least a few “at home” viewing options that cater to their seasonal desires and capture a noticeable portion of the available OTT market share. To further understand the current landscape of these streaming titles, we at Cinelytic utilized our proprietary OTT Demand Data which captures 125m P2P transactions daily for a yearly total of 35b transactions.  The best metric for the demand data is the representative market share a title holds against all titles in release.  In this case, we took the first 7 days of P2P consumption for each of the five most popular holiday releases in both 2021 and 2022:

The graph above showcases five titles from 2021, all of which were made available between mid-November and early December: HOME SWEET HOME ALONE, BLACK FRIDAY, 8-BIT CHRISTMAS, A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS and SILENT NIGHT. The horror-comedy BLACK FRIDAY seemed to separate itself from the pack with 3.4% average market share capture and a significant Day 2 pop, which featured a peak of 6.0% and #2 ranking amongst all available films on that day. 8-BIT CHRISTMAS, A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS and SILENT NIGHT, respectively released on HBOMax, Netflix and AMC+, showcased an average market share capture range between 1.9% and 2.6%, with less notable Day 2 boosts and a top ranking of #4 (8-BIT CHRISTMAS). HOME SWEET HOME ALONE, which represented the sixth film in the HOME ALONE franchise, was a Disney+ direct release that managed to only average both a market share capture of 1.2% and ranking of #19 amongst all available streaming films throughout its first 7 days. None of these titles boasted any notably marketable stars, and the only one with a nostalgia angle or any tie to a successful franchise (HOME SWEET HOME ALONE) proved to be the weakest.

2022 has proven to be slightly more successful when it comes to holiday streaming, but in what should come as no surprise, that is mostly due to two titles that either feature high profile stars or IP that has proven itself amongst a global audience (or both). Apple TV+’s US$75m budget musical comedy SPIRITED led by Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell performed well on OTT, capturing an average market share of 6.7% and claiming the #1 spot amongst all available streaming titles throughout its first four days of release. Meanwhile, Marvel Studio’s THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY HOLIDAY SPECIAL, which was made available exclusively on Disney+ one week after SPIRITED’s debut, managed to capture an even higher average market share of 7.5%. That being said, it was never able to reach the #1 spot in any of its first 7 days, achieving #2 through Day 6 and dropping to #3 on Day 7. This was a result of SPIRITED’s competition during its first week coming mainly in the form of Disney +’s DISENCHANTED, while the Marvel TV special had to contend with the first week of digital availability for Warner Bros. Pictures’ latest addition to the superhero genre BLACK ADAM.

The next best performing title in 2022 was A CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS. Much like 2021’s HOME SWEET HOME ALONE, this title was tied to a nostalgic classic that still resonates with audiences today. However, unlike HOME SWEET HOME ALONE, this HBOMax release enjoyed considerably more success, achieving an average market share capture of 3.6% and claiming the #1 spot on its first day. Netflix was responsible for the final two films represented on the above graph: the animated release SCROOGE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL and the romantic comedy FALLING FOR CHRISTMAS. While SCROOGE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL only averaged both a 2.0% in market share capture and #12 ranking through its first week, FALLING FOR CHRISTMAS proved to be the worst performing title amongst all 10 films in this analysis. This comeback effort from Lindsay Lohan not only achieved half the average market share of its animated Netflix companion, but also an average ranking of #32 against all its competition.


With almost two decades having passed since the last legitimate classic, audiences are still waiting for the next timeless holiday film. With the theatrical industry still in recovery, it may be a while until we see major studios prioritizing thousands of screens for a holiday focused title. For the near future, these types of projects may be relegated to streaming platforms that can be enjoyed while opening presents and spending time with family at home. To find success on these platforms, it seems as though the ever so prevalent trend in the industry applies to these types of releases as well: you need either proven stars or proven IP, and while having both are ideal, moving forward without either is a tall order.