'Descendants 3' Scores Big Ratings for Disney Channel

DESCENDANTS 3 Still - Publicity - H 2019
David Bukach/Disney Channel

Disney Channel's Descendants 3 has racked up a big audience — particularly among the cable network's core kid and tween viewers — continuing a strong run for the franchise.

The movie, which premiered Friday, wasn't quite as big a draw as the previous two movies, but it did pull the highest ratings in several kid demographics for any cable telecast since Descendants 2 in July 2017.

Including three days of delayed viewing, Descendants 3 has attracted 8.43 million viewers, an 84 percent gain from the initial telecast's 4.59 million — outpacing the percentage gains for its predecessors. The movie delivered 2.7 million kids ages 6-11 and 2.5 million in the 9-14 tween demo, with girls making up the large majority of both groups (1.9 million in the 6-11 age range and 1.8 million in the 9-14 cohort).

Delayed viewing among Disney Channel's core audiences increased the initial totals by better than 90 percent. As with the raw numbers, those are the biggest three-day gains in those age groups since Descendants 2.

Disney also said Descendants 3 had the highest single-day viewership in the DisneyNow app for any Disney Channel original movie.

The first Descendants film in 2015 had an initial audience of 6.6 million viewers, growing to 10.54 million after three days (a 59 percent gain). Descendants 2 went from 5.33 million to 8.58 million in three days, a 61 percent jump. 

By virtue of its big DVR performance, Descendants 3 has made up most of the deficit in audience from the second movie: It trailed Descendants 2 by 14 percent in same-day ratings but is now down by less than 2 percent.

The film, directed by Kenny Ortega and written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott, was dedicated to star Cameron Boyce, who died July 6 after suffering a seizure related to epilepsy.