You’ve probably seen some of the hype about Netflix’s latest original thriller Bird Box, which the company says was streamed 45 million times since premiering on Dec. 21 – the “best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film” the company boasted.
Netflix doesn’t specify how many of those viewers actually watched it through to the end, but on the other hand can’t say how many viewers could be watching a single stream at the same time. And, the company has been called out on their claims of viewership because well, its proprietary.
Regardless, 45 million is an impressive number, and one that’s got to have executives wondering what could happen if those “views” were translated into ticket sales. Could Netflix help save the theater chains?
With about 125 million paying subscribers worldwide, some of Netflix’s dedicated viewers may opt for the big screen if the right title came along, but given the cost of just one premium theater ticket can equal one month’s subscription to Netflix subscribers may not be willing to splurge. Remember, Netflix started off as the best deal in town for renting DVDs – a much cheaper alternative to theater tickets.
One might look to another Netflix original film, Roma, for more insight to the company’s big screen ambitions. The movie recently released to cinemas worldwide and has earned $166M internationally, while in the US $200k was reportedly earned during its 5-day Thanksgiving holiday opening. Netflix is wooing the Academy for a nomination for the Alfonso Cuarón-directed work.
Also Read: A Review of Netflix Original Roma
There are other feature-length titles from Netflix that bigger potential as theatrical releases. Consider Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018), Outlaw King (2018), Okja (2017), and Beasts of No Nation (2015), all of which had limited theatrical runs but premiered mainly on the internet. Would you go to the theaters to see any of those titles knowing they would be virtually free to stream in a matter of days or weeks?
With the success of Roma in international theaters and praise for the film at home, as well as the budget to produce more content for the big screen, you might just see Netflix taking more chances in traditional cinema where there’s a system in place to track cinemagoers — most of whom stay until the credits roll.
Also Read: A Review of Netflix Original Film ‘Bird Box’