×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix’s ‘Bright’ Lands 11 Million U.S. Streaming Viewers Over First Three Days

Netflix original movie “Bright” starring Will Smith — which has been widely panned by critics — pulled in a total audience of more than 11 million in the first three days of release, according to Nielsen estimates.

The hybrid cop-buddy/fantasy movie, said to have a $100 million budget, also drew an audience of about 7 million U.S. viewers 18-49 on connected TVs from Dec. 22-24.

So is “Bright” a hit? That’s hard to say, given that Nielsen has only released select data since launching its subscription VOD measurement service this fall and Netflix doesn’t reveal such metrics.

According to Nielsen, “Bright” was less popular than supernatural-thriller series “Stranger Things” season 2 — but drew a bigger crowd than the second season of Queen Elizabeth II drama “The Crown.”

In the first three days of “Stranger Things” season 2’s release (Oct. 27-29), the premiere episode averaged an impressive 15.8 million viewers overall (and 11 million in the 18-49 demo) over that period, per Nielsen. Meanwhile, “The Crown” season 2’s first episode on Netflix averaged nearly 3 million U.S. viewers, including nearly 1.3 million people 18-49, within the first three days of its availability (Dec. 8-12).

Netflix has disputed Nielsen’s figures (and other third-party attempts to measure viewing on its service). The streamer specifically said the estimates for “Stranger Things” were off by a wide margin; Netflix didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Nielsen numbers for “Bright.”

And Netflix has a point: The way Nielsen is measuring subscription VOD is not a complete picture. First, Nielsen uses audio-based content recognition methodology for TV households to track SVOD viewing, which excludes mobile devices and computers. In addition, the Nielsen data currently covers only the U.S. Furthermore, Nielsen is extrapolating the SVOD viewing based on a panel of TV households.

But as a comparative metric, the Nielsen tabulations for “Bright” — which Netflix has marketed heavily as a big-budget, blockbuster-worthy picture — shows that it attracted a healthy but not astonishing level of interest. For what it’s worth, Nielsen also said 56% of overall viewership for “Bright” was male and 44% was female over the first three days. Netflix reported 52.8 million total U.S. streaming subscribers as of the end of the third quarter of 2017.

If you simply multiplied the 11 million three-day U.S. viewership estimate by average movie-ticket price ($8.93 for Q3), that might look like a $100 million box-office opening weekend for “Bright.” But that’s not a valid apples-to-apples comparison, because the vast majority of Netflix subscribers are already paying for the service — they didn’t go out and buy theater tickets for the movie. Netflix’s standard two-stream HD plan, now at $10.99 per month, also is less than the cost of two movie tickets.

“Bright,” directed by David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”), currently has a dismal 26% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes — but a strong 89% audience-approval score. Variety‘s Peter Debruge offered one of the few raves for the film.

The movie has generated controversy over its racial allegories. “Bright” is set in an alternate present-day Los Angeles, where Smith plays a cop partnered with the LAPD’s first orc officer (Joel Edgerton). The film’s conceit is that orcs are the lowest social caste, while elves are the highest-ranking class and fairies are hornet-like pests. “Bright” tries to explore the discrimination against orcs as commentary on the U.S.’s history of racial discord, an attempt some have criticized as falling flat.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith. Jada

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrook Inks Development Pact With Telepool (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s new media venture, Westbrook Inc., has signed a co-development agreement for feature films, television shows and digital entertainment formats with German-based film and TV company Telepool. The move follows the acquisition of Telepool last year by Smith and Elysian Fields, a Zurich-based investment company. Westbrook, launched this year by [...]

  • There's Something in the Water

    Toronto Film Review: 'There’s Something in the Water'

    Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the unpleasant sights, smells and pollutants of industry have typically been located where the poor folk dwell, and police society needn’t notice. With the dawn of popular environmental consciousness about a half-century ago, it became clear that toxic byproducts with a dismayingly long shelf life and unknown (or, [...]

  • 'David Foster: Off the Record' Review:

    Toronto Film Review: 'David Foster: Off the Record'

    By the early 1970s, as the counterculture was dissolving and reconfiguring, there were new pop-star archetypes on the horizon that we still tend to think of — the glam rocker, the sensitive singer-songwriter, the hair-band metal strutter, the prog-rock wizard, the belting pop chanteuse, the punk rocker. But there was another figure of the era [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

  • Aaron Janus Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Hires 'A Quiet Place' Producer Aaron Janus as Senior VP of Production

    Lionsgate has hired Aaron Janus as its new senior vice president of production and promoted Meredith Wieck to the post of vice president of production.  Prior to Lionsgate, Janus served as Platinum Dunes’ head of development, where he oversaw filmmakers Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and Michael Bane. There, he brought in “A Quiet Place,” on [...]

  • Ang Lee Reveals First Look at

    Ang Lee on 'Gemini Man' and De-Aging Will Smith

    On paper, Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is a standard-issue, shoot ’em up with Will Smith playing a deadly assassin who must battle a younger clone of himself. The explosions and gun battles aren’t what drew Lee to the project, even if they’re the reason that most people will show up at theaters when it opens [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content