El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie has been watched by over 25 million households in its first seven days. The film premiered on Netflix two weeks ago, receiving critical and commercial praise. It was streamed by nearly 8.2 million people within its first three days. Nielsen Holdings reported that the movie had an average audience of 6.5 million - 2.6 million people watched it on its opening day, October 11. 40 percent of these viewers were men between the ages of 18-49.
The Breaking Bad sequel movie reveals the fate of Jesse Pinkman directly after the events of the series’ finale. That finale (which aired on AMC six years ago) ended with the death of Walter White and the liberation of Pinkman. The last we saw of Pinkman he was driving an El Camino into uncertainty. The two-hour epilogue picks up right where the finale left off, and embraces a narrative ripe with flashbacks, cameos, and nostalgia.
Netflix doesn’t usually embrace Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings, and hadn’t officially commented on any numbers, until today. This morning, Netflix tweeted that a staggering 25,734,392 households had streamed El Camino in its first week. To put that massive number in perspective, the average ticket price for a theatrical screening in most of the U.S. is around $10, meaning that if this interest level had held up in a theatrical setting, over $250 million in ticket sales would've occurred in a single week. Piggy-backing off the anticipation for El Camino, Breaking Bad itself has seen an increase in viewership. Nielsen has reported that the original series’ average audience increased by over 90,000 viewers leading up to El Camino’s premiere.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was watched by 25,734,392 households in its first seven days pic.twitter.com/FDyPlYc8YO— Netflix US (@netflix) October 23, 2019
Breaking Bad creator and El Camino mastermind, Vince Gilligan aimed to conclude Jesse’s story in a way that made sense and appeased fans. Pinkman actor Aaron Paul has reiterated this fan-pleasing sentiment; honoring the mutual loyalty that exists between them and the Breaking Bad fanbase. Paul, before reprising his role as Pinkman, hasn’t experienced this type of acclaim since the original show ended; struggling to find his way on the big and small screen. Gilligan, on the other hand, has continued the Breaking Bad narrative with the fantastic prequel series, Better Call Saul. Now they find themselves together again with the streaming service that made them famous.
Breaking Bad originally premiered on AMC in 2008. It found its way into nearly everyone’s home when it hit Netflix in 2011. Before it became a “bingeable” property, the show was at risk of being canceled; a hard situation to imagine for a series that's now considered one of the greatest programs of all time. While El Camino has easily surpassed the 5 million viewers mark in a matter of days, its mothership series didn’t gain that sort of viewership on AMC until late in its final season. The large audience Breaking Bad enjoyed on AMC was largely due to its accessibility on Netflix. Paying homage to this fact, El Camino arrived on the streaming service first.
Netflix made an official El Camino announcement in late August, not two months before the movie’s release. Up until then, the film had been shrouded in secrecy — the public only heard faint whispers of the project. Fans and critics alike were taken back by the abrupt announcement, teaser trailer and subsequent release of the film; its success is a testament to not only the credibility of its namesake and creators but fan loyalty as well.