As Netflix’s first theatrical release, Beasts of No Nation was under the industry’s microscope. The streaming giant has thoroughly disrupted the small screen with its original, instantly streamable series, and many have been wondering if it could do the same for the big screen.
Well, if you believe Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos, it sure as heck can.
Despite the fact that his employer likes to stay tight-lipped about its viewing numbers, Sarandos felt compelled to share some good news in a recent Q&A with Deadline Hollywood. “It is worth sharing that this movie, in North America alone, has over 3 million views already. Which I think is a bigger audience than any specialty film could ever hope for in its first two weeks of release, and maybe for its entire run” said Sarandos. “In the first week of release, Beasts of No Nation was the most watched movie on Netflix, in every country we operate in.”
While 3 million views isn’t exactly a gaudy number in movie terms, remember that those views have all come from a pool of roughly 46 million North American subscribers. That’s almost exactly one view for every 15 subscriptions, which is a pretty impressive percentage. Also worth noting is that, if you were to multiply each of those views by the average cost of a movie ticket, you’d end up with a pretty impressive box-office take. Lastly, we’re only 11 days out from the film’s release and — since the film isn’t going to be pulled from the service any time soon — there’s far less urgency to see it than there would be with a theatrical release.
Beasts of No Nation is also available in select theaters worldwide, but has grossed less than $100,000 in its limited engagement, partially due to the fact that it was boycotted by four different theater chains.
Sounds like this is a case of deja vu all over again: Netflix is making great content, raking in the bucks, and pissing plenty off the establishment in the process. Same story, different screen.
Beasts of No Nation is currently available on Netflix, and tells the tale of Agu, a child soldier fighting in a Civil War raging in an unnamed African country. the film stars Idris Elba and Emmanuel Affadzi.