Netflix’s Bird Box followed in its newfound late-year tradition of not-so-quietly dropping a pulpy year-end movie featuring A-list movie stars and watching the holiday-bound binging numbers roll in. In 2017, Bright (starring Will Smith) reportedly captured 11 million viewers in three days, and Netflix recently announced that its 2018 offering, Bird Box (with Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich), was streamed by 45 million accounts (completing at least 75% of the movie’s runtime) within a week. That number’s difficult to translate into eyeballs, since people share accounts, but would loosely amount to roughly 1/3 of Netflix’s global viewership. Nielsen ratings have now arrived via a different methodology with different results that still confirm a major success.
By social media standards as well, Bird Box was a massive viral hit that spread memes like wildfire and inspired a dangerous challenge. Nielson’s data reveals how — and this is only within the U.S. — 26 million viewers watched the movie. The Hollywood Reporter reveals how film fell short of Bright at the beginning of its run, but memes and word of mouth caused the movie to surge in popularity:
According to Nielsen and its measure of U.S. Persons 2+ Unduplicated Reach, Bird Box’s first day, which pulled in 3.5 million viewers, didn’t equal the first day of the 2017 Will Smith starrer Bright, which drew in 5.4 million when it debuted. But Bird Box then held steady — the distraction of holiday activities notwithstanding — and after seven days, it had racked up 26 million viewers to Bright’s 20 million.
Nielsen also says that, of all Netflix original content analyzed, only Stranger Things 2 has captured more eyeballs than Bird Box. Certainly, 26 million viewers would translate into a blockbuster if a movie sold that many tickets at the box office in one week. Very few films can do that these days, and Bird Box is definitely solid streaming fare, rather than a movie that could have competed against multiplex-bound superhero movies and family holiday fare. However, it’s clear that Netflix knows how to work the holiday season in its favor, even if people will still look at the 45 million vs. 26 million figures and point fingers before digging into the methodology.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)