Bird Box breaks viewing record for Netflix within first week
Seven days. While that phrase may be an ominous warning to fans of The Ring, it’s a triumphant one for Netflix’s Bird Box.
The sci-fi original film, starring Sandra Bullock, broke records for the streaming platform, becoming the most-watched Netflix film over the course of seven days since premiering on Dec. 21.
“Took off my blindfold this morning to discover that 45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched Bird Box — best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film,” the company tweeted on Friday.
It’s worth noting that Netflix, as opposed to traditional television networks and film studios, doesn’t release viewing metrics beyond a few one-off instances here and there, as in the case with Bird Box. This makes it difficult to analyze or even understand what we’re seeing, like in Daredevil‘s case — the series was canceled by Netflix despite reports it was one of the company’s most viewed originals. The same goes for when Netflix’s content chief Ted Sarandos claimed The Christmas Chronicles was the “most impactful” of Kurt Russell’s career.
Does the 45,037,125 number consist of accounts that viewed Bird Box in its entirety or only partially so? Did subscribers accidentally contribute to that number by inadvertently clicking on the title while trying to decide between that and rewatching Parks and Recreation for the 45,037,125th time?
When initially reached for comment, a rep for Netflix said, “We don’t have anything to add beyond the tweet.” However, in a rare move by the company, a spokesperson later explained to EW that Netflix only counts once a view surpasses 70 percent of the total running time, including credits. When an account is counted, it “may include multiple views and viewers but is only counted once.”
This, EW is told, is typically how Netflix keeps track of views for original films. The spokesperson clarified the information “should not be taken as a metric for all Netflix content,” as “nuance” comes into play with metrics for Netflix series and individual episodes.
Bird Box benefited from the presence of Bullock in the lead role, as well as the comparisons to A Quiet Place. While John Kransinski’s horror story played with his characters’ hearing, Bird Box plays with sight. A mysterious force, one that attacks when you look at it, decimated the population in this tale, prompting Bullock’s Malorie to flee with her two children. Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich also feature.
This article has been updated with additional context for the viewing numbers, as provided by a Netflix spokesperson.