A lot of people tuned into the premiere of Disney’s movie “Descendants 2” Friday night — 13 8.9 million in all for a simulcast premiere on Disney Channel and five other channels.

The Disney Channel-only audience, however, was not as big as the crowd that tuned in for the first “Descendants” movie in 2015.

Disney’s PR team initially touted a “reach” figure of 13 million people — that is, everyone who watched at least a minute of the premiere on Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform, Disney X D, Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network. (The first four are owned outright by Disney; the company is part-owner of Lifetime.)

The movie averaged 8.92 million viewers over its entire run time (that’s the more common, and more accurate, ratings stat). That’s still bigger than the audience for the first “Descendants” on July 31, 2015. Its first telecast drew 6.55 million people.

Just on Disney Channel, however, the 5.3 million viewers for “Descendants 2” was down from its predecessor. It’s not an entirely one-to-one comparison since the first movie aired in only one place; you can argue that at decent portion of the remaining viewers would have found the movie on Disney Channel had that been the only outlet.

ABC’s airing of the movie drew 2.41 million viewers in the final ratings, followed by Disney X D, 472,000; Lifetime, 302,000; Freeform, 261,000; and LMN, 149,000.

Among Disney Channel’s target kid audience, the movie drew 2.2 million kids 2-11, 1.8 million 6- to 11-year-olds and 1.9 million in the 9-14 age group. That compares to 3 million kids 2-11 and 2.3 million 9- to 14-year-olds for the first movie’s premiere.

In each slice of the kid audience, the numbers for “Descendants 2” were the best on cable since the first “Descendants.”

The all-time Disney Channel movie champion remains “High School Musical 2,” which pulled in 17.2 million viewers for its premiere in 2007.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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