Aryan Simhadri as Grover, Leah Jeffries as Annabeth, and Walker Scobell as Percy in 'Percy Jackson and The Olympians'

‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Viewership Proves the Value of Handling Adaptations With Care

The demi-god has pulled in some godly viewing figures, with Disney+’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians looking to be a hit with fans, if the stats are anything to go by. Though it may be the end of the year, the long-awaited book adaption is off to a strong start.

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Disney’s adaptation of the Greek mythology-centered books by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, pulled in a whopping 13.3 million viewers for its premiere week on Disney+ and Hulu, according to Variety. Despite coming out at the tail end of the year, this has cemented the show as one of the top five most-watched premieres of 2023 on both platforms. This is impressive when you consider what else came out this year, with Disney+ offering Ahsoka, Loki season two, and The Mandalorian season three and Hulu offering Only Murders in the Building season three, The Bear season two, and American Horror Story season three.

Percy and his friends didn’t quite pull in the same figures as the above, with Ahsoka reaching 14 million viewers in five days and Loki season two managing to reach 10.2 million viewers in just three days. That being said, those two shows are parts of the two biggest cinematic franchises of all time, with a huge fandom to draw interest from, whereas Percy Jackson and the Olympians has a much smaller fanbase given that it’s adapted from books that are aimed at a younger teenage crowd and only debuted in 2005.

This isn’t the first adaption of the books, with 20th Century Studios taking a stab at it back in 2010. The film fell a little short of fan expectations (and only resulted in one sequel), with one of the main criticisms being that the characters were all cast way too old, as Percy is meant to be a 12-year-old boy yet was played by an 18-year-old Logan Lerman. Riordan himself was none too happy with the outcome, having asked for script changes along the way, which were apparently ignored.

Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson, Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood in Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1

This time around, fans are happy to see a younger cast, led by a 14-year-old Walker Scobell in the role of Percy, supported by 14-year-old Leah Jeffries as Annabel Chase and 17-year-old Aryan Simhadri in the role of satyr Grover Underwood (Grover is technically older than Percy in the books). Riordan also had a much stronger say in the show, working as a writer and executive producer.

The first two episodes were released on Disney+ and Hulu on December 19, though only the first episode counted towards the viewership total (the same for Loki and Ahsoka, which also released two episodes when they premiered). Based on the age demographics of the Percy Jackson novels, a comparable release on Disney would be Goosebumps, which was released earlier in the year and only managed to pull in 4.2 million viewers in three days—despite being a much longer-running franchise, stretching back to 1992.

The third episode was released exclusively on Disney+ (only the first episode was released on Hulu) on Dec. 27, with one episode a week to be released from here on to make a total of eight episodes for the first season.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.