Wednesday, October 8, 2008

5 Most Popular Hulu Movies of All Time

We all know that the Hulu movie selection is, well, sparse. Most of the movies they post have limited profit potential-- after all, why would you stream a major release before the DVD sales have been fully and thoroughly milked?

That being said, they've done a good job this summer of raising the bar. However, their new releases haven't yet eclipsed the movies that have been on there the longest. Most of these movies were put up there before the summer hits came. They weren't all box office barn burners, but at least they're recognizable:

Here are Hulu's most popular movies of all time (all time is, in this case, since Hulu went live a year or so ago):

#5: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

US Gross (millions): $93.9

Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany star in this period action movie featuring drama and battles on the high seas. It received a slew of Oscar nominations, and won for cinemetography and soud effects editing. This is the most highbrow offering on our list of five. Personally, I didn't think too much of it-- Crowe was a little too in your face for my liking, although I did enjoy Bettany as a Darwinesque naturalist named Dr. Stephen Maturin. And hey, 93 million box office dollars can't all be wrong.

#4: The Fifth Element

US Gross (millions): $63.1

Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, and Milla Jovovich are in the future. And the future is pretty f'ed up. The action fantasy scored big with foreign markets, as well as, apparently, Hulu markets. I think lots of people were probably clicking on it to see Milla in that white strappy thing. That's a click wasted if you ask me. The movie itself is pretty generic stuff- Rotten Tomatoes gives it a positive rating from 69% of critics, but I think that that might just be because people don't expect much from a big actioner with Willis and Jovovich.

#3: Dude, Where's My Car?

US Gross (millions): $46.7

This stoner comedy launched the careers of Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner, even as critics expressed disdain for the lowbrow humor and weak plot. Even though it didn't sweep the box office, it's found a place in stoner film history, and so has lived on for far longer than anyone would have guessed. The capturing of the #3 slot on this list just confirms that it holds a place in some people's toke-addled hearts.

#2: Titan A.E.

US Gross (millions): $22.7

This experimental semi-3D animated film had lots of big name voices behind it's sci-fi spaceship setting-- Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman, and Nathan Lane all failed to pull it out of the box office doldrums. Critis were ho-hum about the movie, but Hulu users place it second on the all-time most popular list. This might speak to a certain kind of movie-- it's a mildly intersting concept that's worth clicking for the novelty factor alone, but was too different to pull people into theaters. I plan to invest that hour and a half long click myself someday-- I just haven't gotten around to it.

#1: The Girl Next Door

US Gross (millions): $14.5

Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert star in a smut-concept comedy that has earned a spot as the Hulu movie top dog. What does it mean when a movie that bombed at the box office is super-popular online? I don't know. Maybe people thought that Cuthbert as a porn actress was going to sizzle the screen with some nudity (those people will be disappointed). Or maybe Emile's career has taken off since the movie left the box office, and his belated star power is having a retroactive impact. Whatever the case, I think fans should be prepared for it to start slipping in the ratings as other movies have more time to chalk up views.

In the future, I'll try to be a little more current, and spotlight the movies that are most popular in any given week.


The Hulu Man

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