Netflix Reveals Its Ten Most Popular Movies Ever
Netflix didn’t become the biggest streaming service on the planet by sharing all of its secrets with its competitors The site keeps many of its company secrets close to the vest, and it protects its data above all. As media and user curiosity has grown, they’ve offered tiny bits of info here or there — even adding a “Top 10” list for movies and shows to the site back in February, sans any actual viewing numbers — but there are no Nielsen ratings for TV viewership, no box-office figures to track on a week-to-week basis.
Bloomberg got their hands on one very interesting Netflix list, though: The ten biggest original films in the history of the site, along with their number of viewers. Here they are:
- Extraction (2020) – 99 million
- Bird Box (2018) – 89 million
- Spenser Confidential (2020) – 85 million
- 6 Underground (2019) – 83 million
- Murder Mystery (2019) – 73 million
- The Irishman (2019) – 64 million
- Triple Frontier (2019) – 63 million
- The Wrong Missy (2020) – 59 million
- The Platform (2019) – 56 million
- The Perfect Date (2019) – 48 million
This is a fascinating list. The biggest of the big are all titles with recognizable stars — Chris Hemsworth, Sandra Bullock, Mark Wahlberg, Ryan Reynolds, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac through the top seven — and four of the top five are Netflix’s versions of blockbusters: Big-budgets, high-concepts, with lots of action and special effects. (Murder Mystery is the only comedy in the top five.) There’s a ton of action on the list; four of the ten are straight-up thrillers, with The Irishman in there as well as more of a crime drama. One other notable aspect is how many of these movies are recent; four of the top ten were released on Netflix in 2020, which suggests the site and its originals have benefited from captive home audiences during the global pandemic.
It’s always worth remembering when considering Netflix’s viewership numbers that they reflect people who aren’t paying for a ticket or a rental; no one had to pay, at least monetarily, to watch David Spade and Rob Schneider in The Wrong Missy. There’s also a lot of gray area around what constitutes a “view.” I could turn The Wrong Missy on, and it could put me to sleep in five minutes, but if I leave my computer running, then as far as Netflix is concerned, I liked it enough to “watch” the whole thing. (This is just a hypothetical, I swear.)
All that said, the numbers are what they are, and they reflect just how big a Netflix movie can get when it breaks out of the pack of new content the site releases week after week, day after day. Also, it helps to have a Hemsworth in your movie. Preferably a Chris Hemsworth.
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