• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Saturday, December 16, 2023

    30 Million Hours Watching The Chosen

    Netflix just released its annual viewing statistics for the first time. This is naturally very interesting for stats geeks like me, and naturally it wasn't long until I started seeing the figures for various biblical productions.

    Most strikingly, 2023 saw 30.9 million hours spent watching The Chosen on Netflix, 27.6 million in English, with a further 3 million hours spent viewing the series in Spanish. It's perhaps not surprising that Dallas Jenkins' crowdfunded series, which has been running since 2019, was the highest placed biblical show on the list. 

    The English and Spanish versions are counted separately meaning that the The Chosen's 27.6 million hours viewed puts it in Netflix's 728th position for 2023, but given there are 18,215 productions in the dataset, this is a good performance. Darren Aronofsky's Noah (2014) did slightly better, coming in 653rd based on 29.5 million hours – fewer than The Chosen's overall total but higher than the English language version alone.

    Other Bible movies and shows fared less well. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the lowly 1,800,000 hours spent watching Monty Python's Life of Brian (6259th). I'm not sure whether this shows that the film is far less popular overseas than it is in the UK, or that fewer of its traditional fan-base are watching it than before due to it playing the trans character for laughs, or perhaps both. Paul the Apostle of Christ (2018) had 200,000 hours, leaving it at 12,061st place and Davis's Mary Magdalene came in 16,337th and Youssef Chahine's The Emigrant came in at 17,457th despite both gaining 100,000 hours viewed. 

    If Netflix repeat this exercise it'll be interesting to see how The Chosen performs next year, given its fourth series is being released on February 1st. I'm not sure if it will appear on the platform from that date, or whether it will take a little longer.

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