Netflix has finally revealed the first numbers for how many customers watched The Irishman, the streamer’s high-profile crime epic from director Martin Scorsese. According to the company, 26,404,081 accounts watched the film during its first seven days on Netflix, putting it roughly on par with last year’s Bird Box when it comes to overall views during the first week.
*pours glass of wine**dips bread*My friends, I’ve got some news from the big guy at the top: THE IRISHMAN was watched by 26,404,081 accounts globally — within its first 7 days on Netflix. pic.twitter.com/abVV993CWS
— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) December 10, 2019
According to Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, that 26.4 million number counts any account that watched at least 70 percent of the film (which works out to two hours and 24 minutes of the 3.5-hour-long movie), via Variety. That number also just refers to Netflix streams, and doesn’t include anyone who saw it during the film’s one-month limited theatrical run.
The reveal of The Irishman’s viewer count comes after ratings firm Nielsen published its own estimate last week, saying that 13.2 million viewers watched The Irishman within the first five days. While Nielsen’s numbers cover a slightly shorter period of time, Netflix’s actual number of viewers is still more than double the original estimate.
Netflix Content Chief says 26.4 million homes watched 70% or more of “The Irishman” in first week. Anticipates 40 million households in first month.
— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) December 10, 2019
Sarandos reportedly commented that Netflix expects The Irishman to reach about 40 million views in the first month of release, or nearly half the 80 million number that Bird Box reached last year, despite the similar start for both films.
Part of that may be due to the viral success of Bird Box, which spawned several popular memes after release that kept it in social media conversation (sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of “The Irishman challenge” brewing on YouTube or TikTok). Or it may simply be that The Irishman — with its much longer runtime and denser subject matter — is simply less popular than a dramatic horror movie like Bird Box as an item of popular culture.
Netflix generally doesn’t reveal exact numbers for how many people viewed its content, making the reveal for The Irishman — one of the company’s biggest and most prestigious pieces of original content this year — especially notable. And despite the lowered expectation for the rest of the month, the fact that Netflix is choosing to release numbers for The Irishman at all seems to indicate that the company is at least somewhat pleased with the performance of the pricey $160 million drama so far.
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