Since the Sandra Bullock horror film Bird Box was released on Netflix on December 21, it's. Netflix famously doesn't make its viewership numbers public, making it hard to determine an accurate viewership number.
That number instantly grabbed the attention of the industry. Last year, the Cannes Film Festival banned Netflix original movies from competing for the top prize - Palme d'Or - at the annual movie event. Netflix sees data as a competitive advantage and does not want to give it away unless there is something to be gained.
It would be hard, for example, to say what the activity of 45 million accounts equates to in traditional box office terms.
A Netflix representative clarified Saturday that the service only counted views that had surpassed 70 percent of the total run time, including credits.
But recall as well that Netflix's 137 million accounts include about 58 million US -based accounts, leaving about 79 million accounts overseas.
Despite the clarification, people inside Hollywood are skeptical. Should I watch it again or eat another cookie?
"I don't believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for Academy Award nominations", Spielberg told ITV News. "It's not a watch for the faint of heart, after all".
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Finally, there's no independent, third-party sourcing involved, a la the Nielsen ratings.
The Verge got Netflix to go on the record, though. In the case of Bird Box, some audiences are taking issue with the depiction of mental illness and suicide.
Does this mean that 45 million Netflix subscribers have seen Bird Box? "Netflix is not up against the same barriers as theaters". Does the figure account for those who accidentally play the film from an auto-play option? "Because of this, in no way does one Netflix viewer equal one ticket sale at the theater". The only mainstream director to fully embrace the streaming revolution is Steven Soderbergh, who began experimenting with distribution models when he released his indie movie "Bubble" simultaneously in theaters and on DVD back in 2005.
"It was a green man with a horrific baby face", said Bullock. "So it would have been the wrong decision". However, many simply riff on the prevalence of blindfolds in the film.
One faction of viewers feels that, by using the effect of "going crazy" to convey the terrors of the beasts, the film is stigmatizing anyone with any mental illness and turning them into a monster without any subtlety. "Why share the stats for one film but not the others, aside from wanting to create buzz?"
Two movies that Netflix said were among its biggest this year, "Bird Box" and "To All the Boys I've Loved Before", were directed by women and had women in lead roles; "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" was directed and written by women and had a Vietnamese-American woman as its lead.
Netflix did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.