Netflix's most-watched movies of 2023 so far will surprise you – no.7 is my favourite

The top 10 most-watched movies on Netflix from January through to June are an eclectic selection, here's the rundown:

Extraction 2 on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

As the curtain closes on 2023 Netflix has officially revealed its most-watched list. Well, sorta. The streaming service's official 'Engagement Report' compiles the number of hours its viewers dedicated to its myriad specials, shows and movies throughout January to June inclusive. So I'll call it a first-half report at best – but the top 10 movies in there will surprise you.

I've skirted around all the various shows as they dominate the top 19 of the list, with an unexpected series in the number one spot, and indeed my selecting of the top 10 globally-available movies sees the 10th entry actually arrive in the 103rd position! But that's because this is Netflix's most-watched by cumulative hours – and let's face it, smashing out 10 episodes of Wednesday is inevitably going to be longer than any of the movies in this most-watched list. 

I suspect the list will surprise you, though, from the shock no.1 entry, to my personal favourite in the no.7 position, to an unexpected Eric Cantona movie in the no.9 spot. It's certainly an eclectic collection – and a selection which, by and large, scores low on the Rotten Tomatoes rate-o-meter. Indeed, of the 10 here, only four sit at an 85% positive audience rating or above, while many others are in the lowly 30% area...

1. The Mother

Back in May of 2023 we wrote about how Jenifer Lopez's Netflix exclusive movie, The Mother, had landed a paltry 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. That critics score remains true even writing this seven months on – but the audience score is a more respectable 62%. 

Still average, sure, but we all cumulatively spent 249,900,000 hours watching J-Lo grace the screen in this flick. That's almost a quarter-of-a-billion hours watching this almost-two-hour epic – assuming one watch per head that's easily over 125-million viewers (and likely far more if you consider those watching with friends, family and partners). So it's a success whether you like the movie or not...

2. Luther: The Fallen Sun

The series Luther has a bit of a cult following (and deservedly). As does Idris Elba (also deservedly, although other than in The Wire I swear he only ever plays himself). That the feature-length movie on Netflix racked up so many watched hours isn't a major surprise, therefore, but the no.2 position shows just how much of a major success it is.

Fans have been largely loving the movie too: it scored an 85% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes – leaving the 62% critics' score in the dust (that being the same as the audience rating of The Mother, let me remind you). The total cumulative watch time of 209,700,000 hours is impressive for the two-hours-and-eight-minutes runtime, seeing it land in the 26th most-watched position for the first half of 2023. 

3. Extraction 2

I remember writing about Extraction 2 back in June of this year, because it was loathed by critics with a terrible Rotten Tomatoes rating. But the fans hit back: back then it had landed an 89% audience score, which six months on has barely dropped, now sat at 85% at the time of writing. 

Given that this list is solely compiled from the first half of 2023, and that Extraction 2 only became available from 16 June, its 201,800,000 hours of cumulative watch time is massively impressive. We all managed to rack that up in a mere two weeks or so, which makes me wonder if this will turn out to be Netflix's biggest success story of 2023 once the full count is in...

4. You People

Oh, you people! No, not the movie, which somehow landed into the no.4 position, but you, I and all your friends who somehow let this dreadful flick land so high on the chart. The critics loathed it, with just 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the people loathed it even more – as You People netted a mere 34% audience score on the same site. 

Somehow we cumulatively watched this movie for an eye-melting 181,800,000 hours in total. That said, the movie did release at the end of January, so it's had more opportunity to rack up that score than many of the others on this list. So perhaps we can quietly forget it exists and move on to better things...

5. Murder Mystery 2

Snap! Yes, I probably spoke too soon. By 'better things' than You People you probably weren't expecting me to call up Adam Sandler's semi-hit Murder Mystery 2. Yet here we are. Jennifer Aniston also stars, however, and everyone loves her, so I'll allow it – even if this movie's 45% Rotten Tomatoes score suggests otherwise

Not that I'm outright dissing Sandler, of course, his movie Leo hit the no.1 spot on Netflix earlier this month and that animated caper is a cracker that earned its spot. Murder Mystery 2 managed to rack up 173,600,000 hours of cumulative viewing, however, which is a lot of time considering its 31 March release date. 

6. Your Place or Mine

Honestly, there are some good movies on this list, I swear. Just, y'know, not this one. Romantic comedies fairly often fail to hit the mark, but Reese Witherspoon's Your Place Or Mine is actually the lowest-rated Rotten Tomatoes flick on this whole list, with just a 30% score. Yowch.

That didn't stop us all from watching it for a cumulative 163,000,000 hours since its 10 February arrival date though. It's actually the 43rd most-watched content on Netflix for the first half of 2023, so I've no doubt this'll be a guilty pleasure movie for plenty of people. Maybe it's worth a second chance (that being a rom-com pun, I think)...

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Well, well, well. I'll let you into a little secret: despite the Knives Out sequel being my favourite on this list, hence the heading of this very round-up, when I first watched the original I didn't think much of it. I think it was just Daniel Craig's accent. But I tried again and, yes, it clicked. It's a hoot!

As is the sequel: Glass Onion is the highest-rated on this list of 10, netting an equal 92% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and audience alike (how rare), showcasing that this is truly one of Netflix's best of the year. We all watched it for a cumulative 142,900,000 hours since 1 January too (it was actually released on 23 December 2022, during the festive season, but those initial views don't count here!). 

8. The Pale Blue Eye

Anything starring Christian Bale is good by default, right? The Pale Blue Eye might not have scored up there among his very best – it's sat at a 69% positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing – but this mystery is still an intriguing watch. 

And watch we did: a cumulative 120,500,000 hours of viewing took place from 6 January through to the end of June this year. I suspect this one didn't quite find its fullest possible audience, but it's still a relative success all considered. One to pop onto your to-watch list if you've not yet caught it perhaps?

9. AKA

When I first saw AKA listed in Netflix's report I was left scratching my chin as I'd never heard about it. Then learned that it stars ex-footballer Eric Cantona, speaking his native French tongue. Despite AKA being a foreign language film, however, it's launched globally so we can all have the pleasure of watching it. 

It's been largely well-received, too, with critics gracing it with an 82% Rotten Tomatoes score at the time of writing, so it's likely one of those hidden gems that more of us need to watch. That being said its 120,000,000 hours of cumulative watch time since its 28 April release date would suggest that, actually, it's proven more popular than the no.8 and no.7 movies above it, which both launched much earlier...

10. Minions: The Rise of Gru

The only animation on this list, but I wouldn't call it a kids film. Indeed, the Gru origin story is one of my favourites – and while critics didn't love Minions: The Rise of Gru completely, scoring it a 69% average on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience loved its every minute, with a much higher 89% score (makes Minion sounds in glee).

In total this Minions movie netted 96,400,000 hours of cumulative watch time. However, it wasn't made available globally, so that may have affected its ranking. It also first released way back in July 2022, so the coming-and-going nature of streaming services retention of movies may also be a factor. Anyway, if you want a giggle go watch this one – it's a superb entry in the top 10 most-watched!

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.