The mystery surrounding Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston's latest movie has seemingly jumped off the screen. After Murder Mystery became Netflix's biggest premiere, which was announced on the streaming service's Twitter on June 18, people had a lot of observations — and questions about the stats Netflix provided.
On Tuesday, June 18, Netflix tweeted on its @NetflixisaJoke account, "ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER ANISTON BREAKING NEWS ALERT," which they followed with, "30,869,863 accounts watched Murder Mystery in its first 3 days - the biggest opening weekend ever for a Netflix Film. 13,374,914 accounts in the US and Canada, and 17,494,949 more worldwide." Those are staggering numbers on their own, considering that multiple people could have watched on each recorded account (I see you, password sharers).
But several people became skeptical about the metrics by which Netflix could judge viewership. Questions included, "What counts as a view?," "How can you prove these stats?," and, "So you're saying this got watched more than, say, To All The Boys I've Loved Before?"
It makes sense that fans would be curious about Netflix's announcement considering that the streaming giant rarely reveals subscriber views for its original projects. Unless they're calling out people who watched A Christmas Prince an excessive amount of times — or touting their numbers, as was the case on June 12 when Netflix revealed Central Park Five miniseries When They See Us was "the most-watched series on Netflix in the US every day since it premiered on May 31."
Some, including one of Sandler and Aniston's co-star's Luke Evans, tweeted excitement over the news. Sandler signed a deal with Netflix that was thought to be quite lucrative, leading to movies such as The Ridiculous 6 and The Do-Over, after some perceived theatrically-released box office missteps that included Blended and Pixels. Neither earned huge openings or critical praise, receiving 16% and 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. Clearly, if that many accounts streamed the crime comedy movie, there was an appetite for it.
However, some people had a different reaction to numbers Netflix released. Reactions ran the gamut from disbelief, ("Raise your hand if you actually watched MURDER MYSTERY. Announce yourself!!!" one user wrote) to suspicion. One person even did the math on what Murder Mystery's high viewership would mean in traditional box office numbers. Reportedly, the movie's 30.9 million households would translate to a roughly $270 million opening weekend box office draw.
To put that number in perspective, Jordan Peele's Us grossed $254.6 million worldwide total — and it was still the 12th highest grossing movie of the year, per Box Office Mojo. So, this Sandler-Aniston vehicle could've made a huge splash at the box office if it had hit theaters. Still, others would like to see receipts regarding these figures, something the streaming service doesn't provide publicly.
Others opted to stay out of the viewership debate completely and instead focus on this, shall we say, compelling extra.
Streaming services like Netflix have definitely made an impact on the film industry. The company garnering its highest opening weekend for an original movie, proves that its subscribers are hungrier than ever for new Netflix content.