×

Netflix’s ‘Cloverfield Paradox’ Pulled in 5 Million Viewers in 7 Days After Surprise Release

Nielsen also releases viewing data for 'Altered Carbon' sci-fi series

Netflix’s pickup of J.J. Abrams’ widely panned sci-fi movie “The Cloverfield Paradox” hasn’t turned out as well as another of the streamer’s big-budget original films, “Bright.”

The movie notched just 2.8 million U.S. viewers in the first three days after its surprise post-Super Bowl release on Feb. 4, according to Nielsen data. But the total audience grew to 5.0 million over a seven-day period, per Nielsen’s estimates.

That’s compared with 11 million U.S. viewers who watched Netflix’s “Bright” during its first three days of release, according to Nielsen (which did not provide seven-day figures for that title). According to Netflix, in the first month after the Dec. 22 release, “Bright” had become one of Netflix’s most-viewed original titles ever.

Netflix guerrilla-marketed the launch of “Cloverfield Paradox” during Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, buying an ad in the NBC telecast announcing that the film would be available to stream following the game. Netflix reportedly paid Paramount Pictures more than $50 million to rights to the film, which previously carried the title “God Particle.”

“Bright,” which stars Will Smith, was backed by a broad marketing campaign while Netflix sprang “Cloverfield” on customers without warning. It also opted to drop the sci-fi flick after the biggest TV event of the year, when Americans were more likely to be calling it a night than settling in to watch a movie.

Popular on Variety

Per Nielsen, on Sunday, Feb. 4, “The Cloverfield Paradox” drew an estimated total U.S. audience of about 786,000. Netflix typically has released original series and movies on Friday.

That said, the relatively weak response to “Cloverfield Paradox” may have as much to do with the fact that many people thought it was a crummy piece of filmmaking.

The movie been savaged by reviewers, garnering an 18% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes; it has a mediocre 51% audience score. Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman dubbed the picture a “mind-boggling mish-mosh” and “a dystopian galactic muddle that feels like it could have been the most bonkers episode of ‘Deep Space Nine.'” By comparison, “Bright” — which also received poor reviews — has a 27% critics’ score but a much higher 86% audience score.

Nielsen also Thursday released viewership data for Netflix’s “Altered Carbon,” a futuristic cyberpunk series released Feb. 2. According to the media-measurement firm, 3.7 million U.S. Netflix subs watched the first episode in the first three days of release — well below the second season of fan-favorite “Stranger Things,” which saw its premiere episode average 15.8 million viewers from Oct. 27-29. In the first seven days of release, the first episode of “Altered Carbon” — created by Laeta Kalogridis and starring Joel Kinnaman — had been watched by 5.9 million people.

It’s tough to get a read on the relative popularity of content on Netflix, which doesn’t release viewing metrics. Netflix also has routinely challenged the accuracy of third-party attempts to measure its service.

Regarding Nielsen’s methodology, Netflix has pointed out that Nielsen covers only the U.S. and only detects viewership on connected TVs (excluding mobile devices and PCs). Nielsen’s recently launched SVOD Content Ratings offering extrapolates Netflix viewership using audio-recognition technology, by matching what’s on TV with a “fingerprint” of Netflix content.

“The Cloverfield Paradox,” Abrams’ third “Cloverfield” movie, is set in the near future where a group of international astronauts on a space station are working to solve a massive energy crisis on Earth using an experimental particle accelerator. But the team inadvertently opens a portal to another dimension — where they become stranded.

The film is directed by Julius Onah and stars Elizabeth Debicki, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, and Chris O’Dowd.

More Film

  • Jack Gordon obit

    Jack Gordon, Former MGM International Distribution Head, Dies at 90

    Jack Gordon, a former president of MGM International Distribution, died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family. He was 90. Gordon was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 13, 1929. He was the son of the Oscar-winning composer-lyricist Mack Gordon. Following his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean [...]

  • Nine Days Variety Sundance Studio

    ‘Nine Days’ Star Winston Duke Weighs His ‘Social Responsibility’ to Black Men When Choosing Roles

    Winston Duke, Benedict Wong, Zazie Beetz and Bill Skarsgård might be known for their roles in blockbuster franchises like “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Deadpool” and “It,” but in their latest film “Nine Days,” the actors collaborated on something a little less flashy, but emotionally impactful. Assembling in Variety’s Sundance Studio, presented by AT&T, ahead of [...]

  • Tom Harper

    'Aeronauts' Filmmaker Tom Harper to Direct Romance 'Forever' for MGM (EXCLUSIVE)

    MGM has attached “The Aeronauts” director Tom Harper to its romance “Forever” — a project that’s been in development at the studio for eight decades. Jonathan Glickman is producing “Forever,” based on a romantic novella by Mildred Cram (“Love Affair”), which focuses on two lovers from the past who are reincarnated in the modern world. [...]

  • Justin Bieber

    Justin Bieber's 'Cupid' Movie Adds 'Greatest Showman' Director Michael Gracey as Producer

    “The Greatest Showman” director Michael Gracey is joining the production team of Justin Bieber’s animated film “Cupid.” The pop superstar will voice the titular Roman god and executive produce the Mythos Studios movie, directed by Pete Candeland. Black List writer Mike Vukadinovich (Hulu’s “The Runaways”) has also been hired to write the script. “Cupid” marks [...]

  • Premature

    'Premature': Film Review

    There’s poetry in “Premature” — literally, if not always cinematically. Zora Howard, a spoken word artist and sometime actor who reunites with director Rashaad Ernesto Green for his second feature (they collaborated more than a decade earlier on a short of the same name), plays Ayanna, a tentatively romantic Harlem teenager navigating a relationship for [...]

  • Jamila Wenske

    Berlin: Jamila Wenske's Achtung Panda! Producing 'Elbow,' 'Arabic Interpreter' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German producer Jamila Wenske of Berlin-based Achtung Panda! Media has boarded two upcoming projects that explore facets of the immigrant experience in Germany. Asli Özarslan’s “Elbow” follows the turbulent life of a young Turkish woman in Berlin and her decision to move to Istanbul, while Ali Kareem Obaid’s “The Arabic Interpreter” centers on a frustrated, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein deliberation

    Weinstein Jury Ends Day With Request for Annabella Sciorra's Testimony, No Verdict

    The jurors in the Harvey Weinstein trial ended their third day of deliberations on Thursday with a request to hear the testimony of Annabella Sciorra. The jury has now been deliberating for more than 14 hours, and will return for further deliberations on Friday morning. In a note to the judge late Thursday afternoon, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content