Netflix is notoriously secretive about how many people watch the movies and television shows it spends so lavishly to produce.
The streaming giant did offer a little more clarity on the popularity of some of its original films, revealing to Bloomberg that “Extraction,” a Chris Hemsworth action flick, “Bird Box,” a dystopian thriller with Sandra Bullock navigating a bleak hell-scape that may not be a so-distant future, and “Spenser Confidential,” a machismo-fueled murder mystery that reunites Mark Wahlberg with “Lone Survivor” Peter Berg, were among its three most-watched debuts.
“Extraction” attracted 99 million views in its first four weeks of release, “Birdbox” was seen by 89 million, and “Spenser Confidential” was streamed by 85 million subscribers. It’s unclear how many of these viewers stuck around for the final credits, as Netflix registers anyone who watched two minutes or more of a movie as a viewer. Unsurprisingly, Netflix is working on follow-ups to both “Extraction” and “Birdbox.”
Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” a lavish crime epic that spent $175 million to de-age Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, was the sixth most watched film, attracting 64 million views. It’s a strong number, but one that pales in comparison to the Michael Bay and Ryan Reynolds’ team-up “6 Underground” with 85 million views or the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston comedy “Murder Mystery” with 73 million views. Neither film attracted as much attention from critics or entertainment journalists. Other recent Netflix-backed awards winners such as “Marriage Story” and “Roma” failed to crack the top 10.
As Bloomberg points out, one constant with the films that clicked with viewers was the presence of a major star — be it a Hemsworth, a Wahlberg, a Bullock, a Reynolds, or a Sandler. Old school auteurs, not so much (though a cinephile’s case for Mr. Bay has been made before).
More traditional studios aren’t thrilled by the way that Netflix picks and chooses the most beneficial numbers to release. They privately grouse that the financial performance of their films are graded weekly when box office figures are released (Netflix doesn’t share data from the select films it screens in theaters). That means Netflix can gloat about its winners and hide its losers.
Here’s the full top 10:
Extraction (99 million)
Bird Box (89 million)
Spenser Confidential (85 million)
6 Underground (83 million)
Murder Mystery (73 million)
The Irishman (64 million)
Triple Frontier (63 million)
The Wrong Missy (59 million)
The Platform (56 million)
The Perfect Date (48 million)