‘Netflix broke with its longstanding practice of withholding viewer data and revealed that some 80 million households viewed Bird Box in its first four weeks of release.
CEO Reed Hastings made that information public in the investor letter that accompanied the company’s fourth quarter earnings report, as he sought to demonstrate momentum for Netflix’s original film slate.
Susanne Bier’s film — which has been resonating in pop culture, as evidenced by such ill-advised pranks as the blindfolded Bird Box challenge — is just one example of the growing strength of the streaming giant’s original films, Hastings noted.
Hastings also disclosed viewer numbers for its Spanish original Elite (20 million), its Turkish-original series, Protector (10 million) and You (40 million).
It was clear from the debut of the Sandra Bullock film that it was going to be a hit. Nielsen reported that nearly 26 million U.S. subscribers watched Bird Box in its first week. It is based of the book of the same name by Josh Malerman.
Hastings also cited the critically acclaimed Roma from Alfonso Cuarón, Private Life from Tamara Jenkins, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs from the Coen Brothers, Dumplin’ starring Jennifer Aniston, and the Chris Columbus-produced The Christmas Chronicles as further evidence of the gathering appeal of Netflix originals.
“The global reach of our audience and the quality of the experience producing for Netflix continues to attract the world’s top directors,” Hastings said.
Netflix is acting out of necessity. One of its major studio suppliers, The Walt Disney Co., has begun withdrawing its movies from the streaming service as it prepares to launch a rival offering, Disney+.’