Disney Plus' most-watched movie record has been shattered again as Elemental's resurgence continues

Wade and Ember sit down with popcorn to watch a movie in Pixar's Elemental
Elemental has become the most-watched Disney Plus film of all-time. (Image credit: Pixar Animation Studios)

Elemental has shattered a Disney Plus movie milestone just one week after The Little Mermaid had set a new all-time record on the service.

Pixar's latest feature film, which only joined Disney's primary streamer on September 13, brought the heat as it ended The Little Mermaid's short reign as the most-watched Disney Plus movie of all-time. 

According to The Walt Disney Company, Elemental was watched 26.4 million times in its first five days on one of the world's best streaming services. That's almost double the number that The Little Mermaid racked up, with the latter earning 16 million views in its first five days on the platform.

What makes Elemental's success all the more impressive is that this is the second time Disney Plus' most-streamed movie record has been broken in seven days. Before The Little Mermaid made its Disney Plus debut on September 6, Hocus Pocus 2 had enjoyed an 11-month stint as the streamer's most-watched film. The Little Mermaid swam to the surface to set a new Disney Plus movie record, usurping Hocus Pocus 2 in the process. Now, though, the Hailee Bailey-starring flick has been overthrown by Elemental.

Elemental's storming of the Disney Plus movie charts also marks an incredible turnaround for the Peter Sohn-directed flick. Upon the release of its official trailer in March, we suggested Elemental's hugely impressive visuals made it a shoo-in for the 2023 animated film award race. Pixar is renowned for making films with eye-popping visuals, so there were never any concerns about how good Elemental would look.

However, the animated movie didn't get off to a hot start in theaters. Mixed critical reviews and competition from other highly anticipated new movies including Indiana Jones 5, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and The Flash resulted in initial poor ticket sales for Elemental

That put it on track to become the biggest underachiever in Pixar's history until, remarkably, it bounced back – likely through positive word of mouth – and ended its theatrical run with a near-$500 million global haul. That figures makes it the ninth-highest grossing movie of 2023 so far.

Of all the new Disney Plus movies to join the platform recently, then, Elemental is by far the most successful. It washed away The Little Mermaid's own staggering performance with ease, replaced another Pixar film – 2022's critically-acclaimed Turning Red – as the most-watched animated film ever on Disney Plus, and enjoyed an unlikely turnaround in fortunes of which most movies would be proud. 

Not bad going for a flick that some observers called the worst movie Pixar had ever made, eh? Expect it to join our best Disney Plus movies guide in the coming weeks. Oh, and if you'd like to stream Elemental for a fraction of the usual Disney Plus price, you can sign up for a three-month subscription the service for as little as $1.99 / £1.99 right now. But be quick! The deal ends tomorrow (September 20), so make full use of the discount before it goes up in a blaze of glory.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.