“The Martian” was No. 1 for movie digital sales and rentals from Dec. 21 to Dec. 27, 2015, according to Rentrak.* The list includes Internet Video on Demand (iVOD) and Electronic Sell-Through (EST), for both Standard-Definition and Digital HD movie purchases and rentals. (Rentrak’s chart for movies on demand is a chart that ranks movies rented through traditional TV outlets.) During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, “The Martian” features a star-studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover. “The Martian” was a big hit with critics and movie audiences.
“Kung Fu Panda” was No. 2. In this 2008 animated film, Po the panda (voiced by Jack Black) works in his family’s noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream becomes a reality when, unexpectedly, he must fulfill an ancient prophecy and study the skills with his idols, the Furious Five. Po needs all the wisdom, strength and ability he can muster to protect his people from an evil snow leopard. The voice cast also includes Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Ian McShane, David Cross and Jackie Chan. “Kung Fu Panda” was well-received by critics and was a massive success.
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” was No. 3. With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (played by Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” was a massive hit with critics and cinema audiences.
“Elf” was No. 4. In this 2003 holiday comedy, an elf named Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (played by James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results. “Elf” got mostly positive reviews and was a blockbuster at the box office.
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” was No. 5. In this 1989 comedy sequel, Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (played by Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie (played by Randy Quaid), and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark’s employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” received mostly good reviews and was a hit in cinemas.
Here are the Top 5 movie digital sales and rentals for the week of Dec. 21 to Dec. 27, 2015:
1. The Martian*
2. Kung Fu Panda*
3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation*
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation*
*Rentrak did not publish the previous week’s chart.