UPDATE: Well, go ahead and affix the dunce cap to my head. As many commenters pointed out, I misinterpreted the Netflix Top 100 list. I had contacted Netflix earlier in the week before writing the story to learn how the list was created and didn’t hear back until this morning that it is indeed a Top 100 of all-time list. My apologies, my mistake, and there is plenty of egg on my face as I retract this original post.
Movies-by-mail rental services like Netflix and Blockbuster seem to have ripped open a hole in the movie-watching time/space continuum. Subscribers are stuck somewhere between the years 2004 and 2006, unaware that movies like Juno and No Country for Old Men are out on DVD. How else to explain the dearth of anything remotely resembling a “new release” in their respective Top 100 lists?
The following chart compares “Top DVD Rentals” (supplied by Home Media Magazine) to the Netflix and Blockbuster top rentals. There isn’t a single film from 2007. In fact, on Netflix, the highest-ranked movie from 2007 is Knocked Up, at No. 33 (Ashton Kutcher’s The Guardian is more popular).
Yes, waiting on the Postal Service is a lousy way to rent movies on impulse. And the beauty of Netflix and Blockbuster online is that they can accommodate the mid and long tail of movies. But the three-year old Crash tops both lists? And there are people who still haven’t seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith? I suggest my fellow Netflix subscribers rent Back to the Future.