Nielsen says the buzzed-about Netflix thriller Bird Box was viewed by nearly 26 million U.S. subscribers in its first week. According to Netflix's own numbers, the harrowing post-apocalyptic drama was viewed by over 45 million accounts worldwide in its first seven days.
Based on the book by Josh Malerman, Bird Box details the terrifying aftermath of a global apocalypse in which victims are struck by bizarre visions that cause them to go mad and commit suicide. The only way to survive is by blocking out the visions using blindfolds. Sandra Bullock stars as a determined mom trying to get her two kids to a safe haven while avoiding laying eyes on whatever lurks in the outside world. In addition to being a huge success for Netflix, Bird Box has also proven to be a social media sensation, and has even spawned a dangerous viral challenge that sees people attempting to recreate the movie's blindfolded feats with predictably disastrous results.
Thanks to new numbers released by Nielsen, it's now been confirmed that Bird Box was indeed a huge hit for Netflix. The ratings service says that nearly 26 million U.S. subscribers watched the Sandra Bullock thriller in its first week on the streamer (via Deadline). On the movie's biggest day, December 28th, it reportedly drew an average minute audience of 3.9 million. Only season 2 of the hit sci-fi series Stranger Things outdid Bird Box in terms of first week Netflix viewership, according to Nielsen.
Releasing Bird Box over the holidays to take advantage of more people staying home to Netflix and chill continued a strategy the streamer began in 2017 when they dropped the Will Smith movie Bright in the same window. Despite critical jeers, Bright proved to be a big hit for Netflix, drawing a reported 11 million viewers in its first three days. According to Nielsen, Bird Box has been an even bigger hit than Bright, pulling in 36 million views in its first 10 days as compared to 23 million for the Will Smith feature. Netflix has already begun the process of following up Bright with a sequel, and there has indeed been talk of a possible second Bird Box movie as well.
Clearly, Netflix believes they've hit on a sure-fire formula for success with movies like Bright and Bird Box: take an established genre like sci-fi or horror, cast a big name star like Will Smith or Sandra Bullock, release the movie over the holidays and draw in a big audience of people who don't feel like getting out to fight the crowds at the theater. Clearly, viral online interest helped drive even bigger numbers for Bird Box. It will be interesting to see what movie Netflix comes up with to be the Bright or Bird Box of 2019.