When The Irishman hit Netflix late last month, it dominated the online conversation. Was it too long? Did the de-aging work? Did Anna Paquin have enough lines? But regardless of whether or not people actually liked Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour gangster epic, one thing was clear. Netflix had a hit on its hands.
At least that’s that it felt like. But since the streaming giant is typically apprehensive about releasing specific numbers, it was impossible to know for sure. Until now. According to Variety, The Irishman was watched by 17.1 million unique viewers in the U.S. in just its first five days. If those numbers are hard to wrap your head around, think of it this way: Sandra Bullock’s Birdbox had about 26 million viewers in its first week of streaming. At the time, Netflix said it was its biggest hit to date, which places The Irishman in that same ballpark.
And don’t forget. Before The Irishman even dropped on Netflix, it enjoyed a rather successful theatrical run, albeit in limited release. In the end, The Irishman feels like a major win for Netflix, even if the company itself still hasn’t released specific numbers (those came from Nielsen).
But according to Netflix’s head of original films Scott Stuber, the company knows “how many people signed up” for Netflix with the sole purpose of watching The Irishman, despite not releasing official numbers. “We’re not hiding anything,” Stuber said at Variety‘s Innovate Summit on Thursday. “I just want it to be articulated correctly to protect the filmmaker and protect the movie because [box office is] not the whole business for us.”
Up next, awards season, where The Irishman is already a huge frontrunner for some major hardware. And while Netflix loves numbers, it's had its sights set on Oscar for quite some time.