This year, kids have spent more time in front of screens than ever. With schools closed and many outdoor activities off the cards, parents rightly resorted to TVs and tablets to keep little ones amused through lockdown. But what were they watching? And which films proved most popular during this most topsy-turvy of years?
Back in the day, kids’ films were few and far between on terrestrial telly, with parents reliant on their local Blockbuster for a dose of family entertainment. But no longer. Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Prime now mean hours of classic children’s tomfoolery at our fingertips – a godsend for busy parents during this tumultuous year.
Given just how many films children have enjoyed over the past few months, we wanted to know which big-screen favourites proved most popular in 2020. To find out, we collated a huge list of kids’ movies from Google search data, giving us a picture of the most-watched flicks of the past 12 months.
Let’s take a look at what our research threw up.
The Most-Streamed Kids Movies in 2020
From Disney classics to new family favourites, hundreds, if not thousands, of kids’ films have streamed into our homes this year. But which movies proved the most popular? Find out below.
2009’s Up came out on top in our streaming popularity chart, proving that the heart-melting antics of Carl Fredericks and co continue to capture children’s imaginations. This modern Pixar classic received an average of 301,000 monthly searches in 2020, making it one of the most streamed feature films of the year.
Elsewhere on our list, Disney classics like Aladdin, The Lion King and Toy Story further proved that nostalgia sells, while Walt’s live-action remakes also got a look in, with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast each earning a place in the top 20.
But 2020 wasn’t just dominated by Disney. Indeed, if our kids’ film picks show us anything, it’s that they have remarkably broad taste. From the timeless romp that is Macaulay Culkin’s Home Alone to Shrek, Sonic the Hedgehog, and High School Musical, youngsters binged on big-screen favourites from a huge range of genres – reflecting the quality and depth of kids’ entertainment in the present day.
The UK’s Favourite Kids Movies – Mapped!
OK, so we know which films kids watched in 2020, but where did they watch them? And were there any interesting regional differences in children’s streaming tastes around the UK? Take a look at our region-by-region map below to find out.
It seems that, in England at least, youngsters are big on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jack Black, with their film, Jumanji, proving the most-watched in seven local areas, including the South West, South East, Yorkshire, North East, North West, West Midlands and the East of England. Indeed, London and the East Midlands were the only English regions where this high-octane, big-budget remake didn’t come out on top.
Interestingly, things were a lot different in the devolved nations, with Shrek being the most-streamed kids flick in Scotland and Wales, and Sonic the Hedgehog blitzing to the top of the charts in Northern Ireland. We’re not sure why this is the case, but it does show that different regions around the UK are defined by more than just borders.
How Have Kids Movie Streaming Trends Changed Over Time?
Since streaming services hit the mainstream, hundreds of classic titles have beamed direct to people’s homes. But over the past three years, how have kids’ movie streaming trends changed?
Focusing on much-loved films of today, let’s see how their popularity has changed since 2017.
From the chart, you can see that among the most popular children’s movie streams, Up and The Lion King have proved consistently popular over the past three years. Jumanji, too, has seen just a small handful of peaks and troughs, in line with the release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).
One of the most interesting success stories highlighted by our chart is the streaming success of Shrek, a film which, despite being released in 2001, continues to attract a growing amount of interest each year. The same is true of 1995’s Toy Story, an iconic tale of friendship and loyalty viewed by many as one of the best animated films ever made.
So, there you have it, an in-depth look at some of the most popular kids’ films streamed into our homes in 2020. For more of the latest news and features from Bristol Aquarium, check out our blog.