Welcome to your summary of the biggest stories from Netflix’s global top 10s for the week ending February 4th, 2024. This week, we’ll feature The Greatest Night in Pop, Orion and the Dark, NASCAR: Full Speed, Alexander: The Making of a God, Baby Bandito, and a check-in with Society of the Snow.
Every Tuesday, Netflix updates its top 10 stats page with 40 new hourly figures of the top movies and shows of the past seven days. This week, there were a few changes in the overall top 10 lists, with Society of the Snow and Berlin extending their gains and Fool Me Once entering the overall top 10 list.
Note: In this report of Netflix’s hours viewed from January 29th, 2024, to February 4th, 2024, we’ll use “Complete Viewings Equivalent,” or CVE, expressed in millions. That means we divide the hours viewed announced by Netflix by the runtime of films or series. It allows for better comparisons between films and series, but it’s not an audience metric. It is the minimum number of viewings if they were all complete from the first second to the last of the film or season.
1. The Greatest Night in Pop has the greatest of starts
Another record was broken last week (the fourth since the beginning of January!) as the musical documentary The Greatest Night in Pop did the best launch for a documentary released Monday, with 11.9M CVEs.
That’s quite a step above the launch of the previous record holder Take care of Maya.
2. Orion and the Dark is doing an ok launch.
The new animated Netflix film Orion and the Dark, written by Charlie Kaufman, launched last week, and it did quite well, with 10M CVEs over its first three days.
With this launch, Orion and the Dark is in the same vicinity as Back to the Outback, one of the most successful Netflix animated films released in 2021. It’s not a success on par with The Sea Beast, but it’s not a flop such as Nimona, so that’s good, all things considered.
3. Alexander: The Making of a God debuts to controversy, but it only helps it.
Netflix would not be Netflix if it did not release a historical documentary series that ruffled some feathers. This week, it’s Alexander the Great’s turn to be at the center of a controversy as some (vocal) people did not learn in school that his sexuality was somewhat fluid, as depicted in the series. Anyways, the series launched with 7.1M CVEs over its first five days, a start close to the one done by Queen Cleopatra, which caused a controversy of its own when it was released.
4. NASCAR: Full Speed stalls for its opening week.
Another “sports-adjacent” program was released last week as Nascar: Full Speed raced onto our screens. But people did not really race to see it as it launched with a dismal 1.5M CVEs over its first six days, the latest example of a long list of sports programming not doing big numbers on Netflix.
5. Baby Bandito
The international TV Top 10 is in the dumps right now with very weak numbers all around after the huge success of Berlin at the end of 2023, and that’s why Chilean series Baby Bandito managed to grab the #2 spot in the Top 10 last week with only 2M CVEs to show for it.
It’s one of the worst opening weeks for a new series hailing from Latin America, but it’s also one of the best opening weeks for a Chilean series, just behind 42 Days of Darkness.
6. How high can climb the Society of the Snow?
In its fifth week, the Spanish prestige film Society of the Snow is still riding high with an accumulated tally of 82M CVEs. Compared to other Netflix international films after 28 days of release, the film is currently the second-best launch behind Troll. It currently sits as the fourth most-watched movie within the first 91 days in the all-time top 10 charts behind The Platform and Nowhere.
Can it still beat Troll? It’s possible that the gap between the two films was 22.4M CVEs after 14 days and only 11.4M CVEs after 28 days.
There’s still a lot to climb, but Society of the Snow might see a huge boost if the film manages to win the Academy Award for best international film in a few weeks. That will be a very interesting race to watch, in any case.
7. Netflix Engagement Report Deep Dive: Netflix series from September 2020.
You might ask why we would take a special look at a new Netflix series released in September 2020. Well, that’s because two of them resurfaced last week. The first one, Sneakerheads, was the subject of an article here at What’s on Netflix about its fate and the fact that the creator said it was intended to be a limited series, with no season 2 planned. Now, that’s a nice way of saving face when a series is canceled, but let’s assume it was intended to be a limited series.
The second one is more remarkable as it is Ryan Murphy’s Ratched with Sarah Paulson, which premiered in September 2020 and was renewed at the time following an apparently successful release. However, Sarah Paulson announced last week that the series was canceled and no season 2 would be released. This could be due to a number of reasons (COVID, the strikes, scheduling issues, the fact that Ryan Murphy ended its deal with Netflix to go back to Disney), but the outcome is the same: the series is effectively canceled.
Now, five new English-speaking Netflix series were released in September 2020, and out of those 5, 4 were canceled after only one season, the last one was a limited series, which is quite interesting and makes September 2020 a graveyard of Netflix series. So let’s look at how those five series did in the Netflix engagement report and whether they were still watched between January and June 2023, basically three years after their release.
Out of the five series, the most-watched so far out of its release was Julie and the Phantoms, a Netflix series that still has a very vocal and dedicated fanbase, with 2.4M CVEs over the first six months of 2023. That’s also the most liked series of the lot, with an average of 8.4/10 on IMDb. Second is Ratched, with only 1.4M CVEs over the observation period of the engagement report, and that quite low number might be the reason why Netflix probably did not fight very hard to have the second season done. Third, we have Away, the space series with Hilary Swank, which was also canceled after one season. Sneakerheads is fourth, and the English series The Duchess is fifth, but not that far behind. Could there be a link between quality and viewing so far after the release of a series? It seems that way on this very small panel of series, but we will continue to investigate.
That’s all for this week; feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below.