The Cloverfield Paradox, the third entry in the Cloverfield franchise, has failed to perform as strongly as another big-budget Netflix movie release: Bright. After Matt Reeves' successful 2008 Cloverfield monster movie, demand for a sequel was incredibly high, but it wasn't until the shock unveiling of 10 Cloverfield Lane that J. J. Abrams' fictional world was expanded. Although well received, 10 Cloverfield Lane was markedly different from its supposed predecessor, and a similar approach was taken with The Cloverfield Paradox, which was originally a completely unrelated movie called God Particle.
As is typical of Abrams-led projects, secrecy surrounding the third Cloverfield movie was very high indeed, and very little was known about the movie. That was until Super Bowl LII rolled around. Not only did The Cloverfield Paradox's first trailer air during the game, but it was revealed that the movie would be released in full on Netflix immediately after the event. Although this innovative method of release was widely praised, the same can't be said for the film itself, which has attracted largely negative reviews since its release, with many suggesting that the Cloverfield tag is superficial at best, despite the marketing promising otherwise. It now seems as if the statistics are following the critical reaction.
Nielsen (via Variety) reports that The Cloverfield Paradox gained 2.8 million U.S. streams in its first three days, rising to 5 million over the week. This is particularly interesting when compared to Bright, another landmark Netflix release that attracted mixed reviews. Bright notched up 11 million views within three days on its way to becoming one of the streaming service's most-watched original movies.
Despite both The Cloverfield Paradox and Bright enduring a tough time from critics, there are a number of other factors that may explain this significant discrepancy. Firstly, it's important not to discount the star power of Bright's Will Smith. While Paradox may have boasted an impressive cast, it did lack a genuine A-List Hollywood figure, whereas Smith is a household name across the globe. Secondly, it's possible that while many enjoyed the originality of The Cloverfield Paradox's surprise release, the move may have actually backfired in terms of hard viewing figures. Releasing a film with little to no build-up can certainly elevate the sense of mystery surrounding it, but those not already invested in the franchise may not have been convinced to spend their time on something they knew almost nothing about. (That's assuming they knew about it at all.)
With that said, perhaps the difference does purely come down to the quality of both releases. While The Cloverfield Paradox was almost universally panned, with only the individual performances of the main cast achieving any sort of acclaim, Bright managed to garner a decent set of supporters who genuinely enjoyed the movie. Plus, there are already plans for a potential Bright sequel. Of course, Cloverfield 4 is also in the pipeline, but given the limited success of The Cloverfield Paradox, expect it to be released and marketed very differently.
Source: Nielsen (via Variety)