The Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) reveals the most-watched and best-selling movie and television titles for 2020, uncovering new home entertainment consumption trends aligned with the impact of COVID-19. 

When Australia’s population was looking for a welcome distraction in their homes amidst 2020, the consumption of home entertainment reached an all-time high during the peak of the pandemic.

The Sonic the Hedgehog Movie - Review

With a wide breadth of titles and easy access to multiple platforms, it’s little wonder that in April digital purchase reached +55% and in May +29%. Digital rental followed a similar trend; in April it was +49% and May saw +43%. Furthermore, Amazon Prime Video launched its service to buy and rent movies and TV in May, expanding the competitive landscape beyond Apple TV, Google Play, Foxtel Store, YouTube, Telstra Box Office and Fetch, in addition to gaming platforms such as PlayStation and Xbox.

Jim Batchelor, Chairman, AHEDA said: “Australian consumers clearly embraced the ease and choice that digital platforms offered during the lockdown and I’m certain that this trend will continue in the future.”

As the physical cinematic experience came to a halt and new release titles were expedited to digital platforms, owning and renting movies immediately following their premiere, had never been easier or more affordable. It’s clear that consumers turned to digital entertainment to provide a welcome distraction, and also to connect them to friends and family.


The star-studded action-comedy Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony), was the top-performing and most purchased film of 2020, followed by action-adventure comedy film based on the Sonic video game Sonic The Hedgehog (Paramount), and animated hit Frozen 2 (Disney).

Oscar-nominated film the Joker (2019) (Roadshow) taking out the most-watched film in the digital renting category, followed by Sonic The Hedgehog (Paramount) and The Gentleman (2019) (Roadshow).

Batchelor said: “Jumanji has proven to be the perfect film for 2020. Fun and action for all the family, a great cast and a little nostalgia to get us through a tough year.”

It didn’t stop at films, television caught our attention too with Outlander – the complete 5th series (Sony) taking out the number one spot of most purchased in the category, followed by Brooklyn 99 – the complete 7th series (Universal), and the 100 – the complete 7th series (Warner Bros). Interestingly, the much-hyped series The Undoing starring Nicole Kidman made its way into the top 5 for the year having only been made available from November.

The most-transacted Australian produced titles across digital platforms included: Ride Like a Girl (Sony), Invisible Man (2020) (Universal), Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (Roadshow).

The closure of cinemas through the middle of the year and the subsequent lack of theatrical films therefore flowing onto the digital transactional services meant a decline in consumption. Digital purchase was -26% in Q3 and digital rental followed a similar pattern, though not as sharp, with a decline of -12% in Q3.

The cinematic disruption, aligned with the consequences of the pandemic, positively impacted the digital transaction market, leading to a resurgence in classic films and fan favourites. As the availability of new release content started to slow, Australian’s accessed much-loved classics including titles such as Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

The Joker

Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Telstra Box Office, and Fetch offer a comprehensive selection of films – available shortly after their cinema release – allowing Aussies to access the titles they want, when they want, from preferred digital platforms, unlike streaming services.

Top 10 Best Selling Movies:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog (Paramount)
  3. Frozen 2 (Disney)
  4. Joker (2019) (Roadshow)
  5. Star Wars: Episode IX- The Rise Of Skywalker (Disney)
  6. Bad Boys For Life (Sony)
  7. The Gentlemen (Roadshow)
  8. Bloodshot (Sony)
  9. Scoob! (Warner Bros)
  10. Ford V Ferrari (Disney)

Top 10 Rented Movies:

  1. Joker (2019) (Roadshow)
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog (Paramount)
  3. The Gentlemen (Roadshow)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  5. Gemini Man (2019) (Paramount)
  6. 1917 (Entertainment One)
  7. Knives Out (Sony)
  8. Ford V Ferrari (Disney)
  9. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood (Sony)
  10. Hustlers (Roadshow)

Top 10 TV Series:

  1. Outlander – The Complete 5th Series (Sony)
  2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine – The Complete 7th Series (Universal)
  3. The 100 – The Complete 7th Series (Warner Bros)
  4. Vikings – The Complete 6th Series (MGM)
  5. The Undoing – The Complete 1st Series (HBO)
  6. Supernatural – The Complete 15th Series (Warner Bros)
  7. Big Little Lies – The Complete 2nd Series (HBO)
  8. Game Of Thrones – The Complete 8th Series (HBO)
  9. Chernobyl – The Complete 1st Series (HBO)
  10. Succession – The Complete 1st Series (HBO)

Top 10 Australian Produced Movies:

  1. Ride Like A Girl (Sony)
  2. The Invisible Man (2020) (Universal)
  3. Miss Fisher & The Crypt Of Tears (Roadshow)
  4. Danger Close: The Battle Of Long Tan (Sony)
  5. 100% Wolf (Universal)
  6. Go! (Roadshow)
  7. Peter Rabbit (Sony)
  8. Black Water: Abyss (Universal)
  9. Carl Barron – Drinking With A Fork (Universal)
  10. The Nightingale (Sony)

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