Netflix’s investment in The Irishman – by far its highest-profile original movie release to date – looks like it has been justified after just one week of availability.
The streaming giant has announced viewing figures for week one of the star-studded film, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese.
Netflix says it has racked up 26.4 million streams in the first week after the three-and-a-half-hour epic became available for streaming on November 27.
Netflix says that it counts a stream as any viewer who has completed 70% of the film, meaning they watched at least two and a half hours of this one (via The Verge).
The company is counting people who may have watched twice in that 26.4 million figure, but estimates it will be viewed in 40 million households within the first month of availability.
Given most viewers probably weren’t watching alone, it represents a giant audience for a streaming debut. For context, over 100 million people went to see the most successful movie of all time, Avengers: Endgame on opening weekend around the world.
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It doesn’t appear as if the film is going to be quite as successful as Bird Box, the viral thriller starring Sandra Bullock, which racked up 80 million households in its first month. However, unlike The Irishman, which reunites Scorsese’s favourite acting duo of Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, Bird Box didn’t have a limited cinematic run prior and during release.
As of December 8, The Irishman had brought in only $7.5m at the global cinematic box office, largely due to chain cinemas being unwilling to show Netflix movies with such a short gap to the home release.
The film itself cost $160m to make, so Netflix will probably be pretty pleased with the return on its investment thus far. It also stars fellow Scorsese alumni Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel, as well as Jessie Plemons and Anna Paquin.
The Irishman is based upon the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt and sees an ageing Frank Sheeran (De Niro) recall his time working as a mafia hitman. Reviews have been extremely positive thus fur, as you’d expect from the team that brought us films like Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino.