Judging the success of a Netflix film usually involves a bit of guesswork and oftentimes we don’t really know because the streaming service generally doesn’t release viewership numbers. But The Irishman isn’t just any Netflix film. This is Martin Scorsese’s long-in-development $175 million crime epic starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, so it’s kind of a big deal. Thankfully, Netflix has now revealed how many people have watched The Irishman, or at least most of it. Take a look:
According to Netflix Film’s Twitter, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman was watched by over 26.4 million accounts around the world in its first week in release. That is a pretty big number, and remember, that’s just accounts, not viewers. So the number of people who actually watched The Irishman is higher if you account for the people who share an account or those who watched the film with friends or family.
While 26.4 million accounts is no small feat, it is significantly smaller than the amount of viewers Netflix claimed for its sci-fi film Bird Box. That Sandra Bullock film set a Netflix viewership record with the streaming service claiming a whopping 45 million accounts watched it within the first week.
Whenever you dig into the murky waters of Netflix viewership, there’s always a question of how the streamer counts a subscriber as having watched a film. As if to head off this question right away, Netflix Film says that Netflix counts a viewer as anyone who completes 70% of a film.
So these viewership numbers do not mean that 26.4 million accounts watched The Irishman from start to finish. What it does mean though is that 26.4 million accounts, and therefore 26.4 million people or more, watched the majority of the crime epic. To get specific, for a three-hour and 29 minute movie, 26.4 million Netflix accounts watched at least 146.3 minutes, or almost two-and-a-half hour’s worth.
Now, as far as how these numbers stack up to what was previously reported. Last week, Nielsen offered up its viewership numbers for The Irishman, showing the film drew a total average minute audience of 13.2 million viewers in its first five days in release. In addition, according to Nielsen a large number of the initial viewers of The Irishman watched the long film in its entirety in one sitting.
These numbers were only for The Irishman’s first five days though and only for U.S. audiences so they don’t tell the whole story. But now we have a better idea of how many people around the world tuned in for the film.
These numbers certainly reflect a strong interest in the talked about film, indicating that the glowing reviews and buzz convinced audiences to tune in. And while some may have found the film boring, 26.4 million viewers sitting through over two hours of it would seem to indicate that wasn’t the prevailing opinion.
If Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman were a wide theatrical release, it would be much easier to measure its success because it would be in dollars and cents. But Martin Scorsese took his wildly expensive project to Netflix to get it made, thereby guaranteeing its existence, but largely foregoing the money it could have made in theaters.
The Irishman is now streaming. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what big screen movies you can look forward to next year.