Directed by Kris Pearn, it’s the second original film from the streamer’s animation division that aims to provide the kind of family content it has been offering from competitors for years.
While Netflix is traditionally tight-lipped about viewer data, the metric for “The Willoughbys'” is a bit firmer than its usual equation for viewing. Netflix logged nearly 38 million individual accounts to watched at least two minutes of the film, which does not account for the number of Netflix accounts and profiles in a single home, a source familiar with the data said.
Netflix also only registers each viewing once, said the insider, and does not account for repeat viewing — which is the norm for emphatic kids rewatching this type of content.
“The Willoughbys” tells of a neglected family of children living under the rule of self-obsessed parents, who conspire to send them away and orphan themselves in hopes of a better life. Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Jane Krakowski, and Ricky Gervais round out the voice cast. The movie has a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making in the best-reviewed animated title of the year so far.
Netflix’s first original in the space was “Klaus,” a Santa Clause origin story that became Netflix’s first Oscar nominee for animation, alongside the title “I Lost My Body.” That film was watched by 40 million Netflix accounts in its first 28 days.
“The movie may feature two parents who scarcely deserve saving, but it’s responsible about the way it presents this idea (your kiddos won’t be putting snakes in your bed or Drano in your coffee after seeing it),” wrote Variety critic Peter Debruge in his review. “At a moment when most locked-in American families are pretty near the limit of how much they can stand of one another, ‘The Willoughbys’ wraps things up beautifully with a song.”