Netflix’s original crime-comedy film Murder Mystery, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, has set a new streaming record. Set in the same vein of a whodunit mystery as Clue and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Murder Mystery marks one of several Sandler-produced - and fronted - movies available exclusively for the streaming giant.
Directed by Kyle Newacheck, Murder Mystery follows Nick (Sandler) and Audrey (Aniston) Spitz, a married couple whose romance and enchantment has been replaced with predictability and stale conversations. Nick is a police officer in the NYPD who repeatedly fails his exam to promote to detective, and Audrey is a hairdresser whose guilty pleasure is reading murder mystery novels. In an attempt to rekindle the spark in their relationship, - and distract her from his lies about his status as a detective - Nick takes Audrey on their long-delayed European honeymoon for a 15-year anniversary gift. Aboard a plane, Audrey meets wealthy Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans), who invites the couple to a family party on a yacht. Surrounded by outlandish characters, the couple joins the group for a will signing by Cavendish’s billionaire uncle, Malcolm Quince (Terrence Stamp). In a classic dark turn of events, Malcolm is murdered, leaving Nick and Audrey to solve the case.
Written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), Murder Mystery has been deemed predictable by viewers, however, the ratings have caused quite a stir. According to Deadline, Netflix announced that Murder Mystery had the most successful opening weekend for an original film. Released on June 14, the film was watched by 30.87 million accounts in its first three days. The audience data reflects that Murder Mystery’s numbers surpassed Will Smith’s Bright and Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box. Bright accumulated 11 million during Christmas break, and Bird Box topped the charts with 26 million in the first week. Netflix also recently clarified that a view only counts if members watch at least 70% of a movie. Murder Mystery’s run time is a comfortable 97 minutes, which means those who tuned in, kept the film on for most of its duration.
Since joining the Motion Picture Association of America, Netflix has appeared to loosen the lockdown on their viewership data. Original shows on the streaming platform also seem to pull in big numbers, such as comic book adaption The Umbrella Academy - which streamed into 45 million homes in its first month. So far, Murder Mystery appears to be a success for Netflix, Sandler, and Aniston. Netflix and Sandler will continue their partnership, and the comedian is set to reprise his role as Dracula in the highly anticipated Hotel Transylvania 4. Aniston has hinted at the possibility of a Friends reunion, and will star alongside Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon in the upcoming series The Morning Show.
Murder Mystery plays like an extended game of Clue that reunites Aniston and Sandler after their performances in 2011’s Just Go With It. Murder Mystery may not have succeeded with a theatrical release, however, it's the ideal fit for Netflix. Provoking a few worthy chuckles from its viewers, Murder Mystery can be classified as background cinema. The exaggerated characters, fluffy plotline and ad-lib banter type dialogue allows the audience to remain engrossed, or merely catch moments of the film, and still take away the same experience. Even though Murder Mystery doesn't tote an original concept, it's proved a major hit for Netflix, and seems to have solved the case of how to deliver record-breaking ratings.