As Netflix continues its push to land a "Best Picture" Academy Award for Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman," the streaming service, in an uncommon move, revealed viewership numbers Tuesday for the critically acclaimed film.
The Robert DeNiro- and Al Pacino-starring mob epic was watched by 26.4 million households during its first seven days after it became available to stream on Nov. 27, according to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos. "The thing that’s amazing about that is, think of everything those people could be doing on those screens," Sarandos said. "And they chose a film."
That choice proved fortunate for Netflix, which spent $170 million to make "The Irishman." With 26 million people paying $12.99 for one month of Netflix that translates to $338 million so the streaming service has already has made its money back on the more than three-hour movie.
The ultimate payoff is yet to come though: an Academy Award for "Best Picture" — the pinnacle of success and acceptance in Hollywood. Netflix and "The Irishman" made a step in that direction Monday collecting a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Picture — Drama." The Globes are often a bellwether for the Oscars.
"The Irishman" was just one of 34 nominations Netflix nabbed Monday. Sarandos said all of the mentions were a "good mark of quality both for the industry and for consumers."
Still, Netflix is all in on "The Irishman" establishing the company as a major player in movie production, and not just a service where consumers can "binge-watch" old TV programs. To that end, in addition to the nod by the Golden Globes, "The Irishman" has also won the three major "Best Picture" awards from film critics.
Despite the glow of the Golden Globes and the strong viewership numbers, Netflix stock was down nearly 3 percent on Tuesday. Several analysts have downgraded the stock in the last few days with Needham’s Laura Martin joining in on Tuesday predicting that Netflix could lose 4 million U.S. subscribers in 2020 as a result of competition from the likes of AppleTV+, HBOMax, Disney+ and other less expensive services.