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Mark Wahlberg’s ‘The Family Plan’ Apple TV+’s Most Watched Movie Ever

December 21, 2023

Streamers are slowly coming around in supplying viewing results, especially when the news is good. Apple has some good news.

The December 15 premiere of the Mark Wahlberg-starrer The Family Plan on Apple TV+ debuted as the most viewed movie ever for the service, and now stands as the most viewed movie in Apple TV+ history, per insiders.

The Jennifer AnistonReese Witherspoon The Morning Show is the service’s series record holder after its new season that began in September saw audience increases by 20% over its second season, powered by growth in the U.S., and Canada, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, France and India.

The combination of those, Brie Larson’s Lessons in Chemistry, Messi Meets America, Gary Oldman’s Slow Horses, Ron Moore’s For All Mankind, along with this year’s Rebecca Ferguson-starrer Silo, Idris Elba’s Hijack, Sharon Horgan’s Bad Sisters and Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso, put Apple TV+’s viewership up by 42% year over year in 2023, in over 100 countries. The service doubled the total hours consumed, in year over year comparison.

Apple’s Monsterverse series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters from Legendary Entertainment, premiered as the No. 1 first season drama on Apple TV, in November, and Lessons in Chemistry became the #1 limited series on Apple TV+ to date, following its October 13 debut. The Lionel Messi docu Messi in America is on course to net the distinction of becoming the biggest unscripted sport series for the service after premiering October 11. Not surprisingly, much of that draw is powered by audiences in Australia, Germany, Mexico, Spain and Argentina. The Emmy-winning space drama For All Mankind has beat its previous season numbers in its fourth season. And the Gary Oldman-starrer Slow Horses which just premiered its third season, is pacing to become the largest returning drama in the UK, up 65% there over its second season.
Apple has also taken the lead in partnering with theatrical studios in preceding its big ticket films with movie house releases that go way beyond token or qualifying runs. That includes Napoleon with Sony, and Killers of the Flower Moon with Paramount; on Family Plan, it teamed with David Ellison’s Skydance.
Sony meanwhile just prevailed in a hotly contested auction for theatrical distribution deals for two substantial Apple Original Film efforts. Sony will do full theatrical releases on the Jon Watts-directed George Clooney and Brad Pitt feature Wolfs (they are already talking sequel on that one), and the Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum pic Project Artemis. It is becoming clear that on big-ticket pictures, product-starved theaters are good places to start, and with studios helping out on the P&A spend, these properties are more valuable when they do make it to the streaming service. Ridley Scott’s Napoleon surging toward $200 million is an eye-opener. The film cost about that much to make and the theatrical splits and distribution fees to Sony don’t cover the budget. But it defrays those costs and doesn’t harm the product when it becomes a big offering on Apple TV+.
The next studio auction will come on the untitled Formula One film that Joseph Kosinski is directing with Brad Pitt starring in the vehicle and Jerry Bruckheimer producing. That one is revving up again after being shut down for the strike. There’s still enough Formula One races in the season for Kosinski to get the crowd-filled action shots that are needed.