As expected, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” secured the leading position on Netflix’s weekly movie rankings in its opening weekend on the streamer. A sequel to Rian Johnson’s 2019 whodunnit “Knives Out,” “Glass Onion” was watched for 82.1 million hours in the Dec. 19-25 viewing window, during which it was only available for the last three days. By Netflix’s estimation, dividing viewing hours by the film’s 2.3-hour runtime, this means 35 million households tuned in.
The film arrived on Netflix after a limited theatrical release that began on Nov. 23, exactly one month before its streaming debut. The “Knives Out” franchise marked a major investment for Netflix, which in 2021 paid $450 million for the rights to two sequels, plus another $40 million to produce “Glass Onion,” the first. Whether or not the company will get a solid return on its investment remains to be seen.
82.1 million hours watched puts “Glass Onion” slightly behind the opening of 2021’s “The Unforgivable” (85.9 million) which is the lowest comparable title on Netflix’s list of its most popular movies of all time. (The Sandra Bullock movie sits at No. 8. “The Irishman” and “The Kissing Booth 2” are No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, but both premiered before Netflix began releasing weekly streaming data, so information about their opening weekends is not available.) Of course, this isn’t a perfect comparison: “Glass Onion” had a Christmas premiere, meaning that more people were home to watch movies, though they were also gathered together, translating to combined views instead of views on multiple devices. “The Unforgivable” premiered on Dec. 10, 2021, when viewers might have been busier but also would be more likely to watch the movie separately and contribute more viewing hours.
Additionally, “The Unforgivable” didn’t have as steep a rise as some of Netflix’s other most popular movies. For example, “The Gray Man” opened with 88.6 million hours watched in July, just 2.7 million more than “The Unforgivable,” but landed in the No. 4 position with 253.9 million hours watched after 28 days of streaming, almost 40 million more than “The Unforgivable’s” final tally of 214.7 million. And when “Purple Hearts” premiered the week after “The Gray Man” with only 48.2 million hours watched before skyrocketing to become the 7th most popular Netflix film of all time with 228.7 million hours after 28 days.
Therefore, “Glass Onion” still could be on a path to big viewership success for Netflix. (It should also be noted that while Netflix and movie theaters declined to comment on box office numbers, sources told Variety the movie made roughly $15 million in the first week of its theatrical run.)
The Netflix Top 10 for the week of Dec. 19-25 also featured the debut of “Emily in Paris” Season 3 with 117.6 million hours watched during its first five days of availability, reaching the No. 2 position on the English-language TV chart. The dramedy starring Lily Collins is a heavyweight for Netflix, with the previous season having lasted on the Top 10 chart for five weeks, though Season 3 is already outpacing it with 10 million more hours watched than Season 2 debuted with. Also notable is that “Emily in Paris” Season 1 appeared in the No. 10 position this week with 11.5 million hours as fans rewatch or discover the series for the first time.
“Emily in Paris” Season 3 was only beat by “Wednesday.” With 118.5 million hours watched from Dec. 19 to Dec. 25, it is is now in its fifth week in a row as the No. 1 TV series on Netflix. Though it lost its chance to beat “Stranger Things” Season 4 for the title of most popular English-language series of all time, landing at 1.237 billion hours watched in its first 28 days, it still beat the series in other ways: “Wednesday” broke the record for most hours viewed in a single week with 341.2 million when it debuted, then reset that record with 411.3 million hours the following week. “Stranger Things” Season 4 also only achieved a maximum of four consecutive weeks in the No. 1 position, being usurped by “The Umbrella Academy” Season 3 for one week before debuting Volume 2 of Season 4 and coming back to the top for another three weeks.
All things considered, it’s fair to say that it’s only the longer runtime and segmented release of “Stranger Things” Season 4 that puts it over “Wednesday.” The former didn’t cross 1 billion hours watched until Volume 2 was released over a month after Volume 1 and reset the 28-day time frame Netflix uses to calculate its Most Popular list, whereas “Wednesday” got to 1 billion after three weeks. The fact that the Addams Family spinoff accumulated 1.237 billion hours watched with 6.8 hours of content dropped all at once compared to “Stranger Things” Season 4’s 13 hours released over time is a major testament to the success of the former.
The royal-centered “Harry & Meghan” was usurped for the No. 2 position by “The Recruit,” which racked up 95.6 million hours watched in its first full week of availability, up from last week’s 52.3 million. “Harry & Meghan” was watched for 39.7 million hours watched in its third week, a drastic drop from the 97.7 million hours watched the week before. Overall, the documentary series about the Duke and Duchess didn’t perform as strongly as expected. Though it had Netflix’s strongest-ever debut weekend for a documentary project, it didn’t have significant staying power, jumping by less than 20 million hours watched for its first full week of availability, which also marked the debut of three new episodes. And while it still seems likely that the series will remain on the Top 10 in the coming weeks, having dropped below 40 million hours watched this soon after premiering doesn’t say much in favor of its impact as a whole, let alone the fact that it failed to make a dent on Netflix’s most popular list.
“The Witcher: Blood Origin” had its debut during this viewing window after being touted, along with “Emily in Paris” and “The Recruit,” as one of Netflix’s major end-of-year releases. It placed at No. 7 with 15.8 million hours watched — a small number, though that’s largely explained by its Dec. 25 release date, meaning only its first day of streaming was counted.
Elsewhere on the English-language TV chart was “Sonic Prime” (26.4 million hours), “Too Hot to Handle” Season 4 (16.6 million), “I Am a Killer” Season 4 (15.8 million) and “Firefly Lane” Season 2 (14.2 million).
See Netflix’s Top 10 lists for the week of Dec. 29-25 below, beginning with English-language series and followed by English-language movies, non-English-language TV shows and then non-English-language movies.