Nielsen: Amazon Tops the Charts for the First Time with ‘Coming 2 America’

Prime Video will stream 'Coming 2 America' on March 5
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Coming 2 America did the seemingly impossible and put Amazon at the top of Nielsen’s typically Netflix-dominated weekly SVOD top 10 ranking list for the very first time during the week of March 1-7.

The Amazon Studios film garnered more than 1.4 billion minutes of total viewing during its first four days of availability in the U.S., making it the most streamed SVOD title in country during the week ending March 7.

Coming 2 America was only the fourth movie to rank No. 1 on Nielsen’s weekly top SVOD programs list. Netflix’s Spenser Confidential, Disney Plus’ Soul and HBO Max’s Wonder Woman 1984 preceded Coming 2 America.

Nielsen weekly SVOD rankings for March 1-7

Nielsen weekly SVOD rankings for March 1-7 (Image credit: Nielsen)

Each week, Nielsen ranks the top programs based on total U.S. minutes viewed on the four biggest U.S. subscription streaming services—Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus. In addition to its main top 10 ranking, which covers show performance from roughly a month prior, Nielsen also published drilled down lists for “original series,” “acquired series” and “movies.”

(Coming 2 America, obviously, led the movies lists for March 1-7, too.)

Nielsen weekly SVOD rankings - movies for March 1-7

SVOD movie rankings for March 1-7 (Image credit: Nielsen)

Since Nielsen launched its SVOD ranker in September, Netflix programs have dominated the list due to a far larger U.S. subscriber base. Netflix has more than 73 million U.S. subscribers.

The 109-minute Coming 2 America’s performance is remarkable not just because Amazon Prime Video’s subscriber base is substantially smaller than Netflix’s. The film’s performance is also notable because Nielsen’s ranking system is based on total minutes streamed, therefore shows with longer tails have an advantage. 

Coming 2 America, starring Eddie Murphy, was originally scheduled for theatrically released by Paramount Pictures in August 2020. That date was switched to December 2020, but eventually the highly anticipated sequel to the 1988 comedy classic was sold to Amazon. The streaming service released the film on Prime Video on March 4. 

In the movie, Murphy reprises his role as Prince Akeem of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, who learns he has a son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler), living in Queens, N.Y. Prior to the film’s release, Amazon went to great marketing lengths. The streaming service ran a spot in Super Bowl LV and re-launched the original movie on Prime Video. Infomercials highlighting iconic moments from the original movie were produced by Amazon Studios, and in the first week of March Amazon U.S. delivery trucks and airplanes were dressed in Prince Akeem gear.

In March, Amazon executives said that Coming 2 America marked the biggest opening for a movie on the streaming service in the last year.

“The premiere of Coming 2 America has far exceeded any of our wildest expectations,” Jen Salke, head of Amazon Studios said in a statement in March. “It’s clear an entire new generation of fans have joined the enormous loyal fanbase who already adored the magical world created by global phenom Eddie Murphy, the incredibly talented filmmaking team and the hilarious, all-star cast of existing and newly-cemented legends.”

Nielsen weekly SVOD rankings - original series for March 1-7

SVOD original series rankings for March 1-7 (Image credit: Nielsen)

Meanwhile, Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia drew over 1.1 billion minutes of U.S. viewing for March 1-7, putting it in the No. 1 spot on the original series list and No. 2 on the overall rankings.

Ranking in fifth place overall and No. 2 on originals chart was Disney Plus’ WandaVision. For the week of March 1, the ninth and final installments of the miniseries garnered 924 million views per minute—up 192 million viewing minutes week over week. The Marvel series initially cracked Nielsen’s original series rankings when it debuted on Jan. 15 and tallied just 434 million minutes of U.S. streaming. Viewership steadily increasing week to week.  

Nielsen weekly SVOD rankings - acquired series for March 1-7

(Image credit: Nielsen)

On the acquired series SVOD ranking chart, Netflix streaming of the CBS procedural Criminal Minds once again came out on top. The 12 seasons and 307 episodes of the procedural drama licensed by Netflix garnered 929 million minutes of viewing. Grey’s Anatomy came in second place on the acquired list. The series’ 366 episodes tallied 8558 million U.S. viewing minutes during the week of March 1.