Netflix famously doesn't release viewership numbers, making it difficult to judge the success of the streaming service's movies and TV shows outside of metrics like social media. But sometimes Netflix does let the wider world in on how well something has done, which is just what's happening with new holiday movie The Christmas Chronicles. The film, which stars Kurt Russell as Old St. Nick, was watched 20 million times in its first week.
Clearly Netflix viewers are feeling the Christmas spirit, or maybe they just wanted the check out the hot Santa everyone has been talking about. Speaking about the film at a confernece, Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos highlighted how this is the biggest film of Kurt Russell's storied career, just based on how many people saw The Christmas Chronicles and how quickly.
According to Business Insider, Ted Sarandos noted that the 20 million views The Christmas Chronicles racked up in its first week would equate to a $200 million opening week if those views were ticket purchases. Kurt Russell's biggest films at the theatrical box office are Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which enjoyed a $183 million first week and Furious 7, which is number 7 on the all-time worldwide box office list with $1.5 billion.
It should be noted that, while 20 million views in the first week undoubtedly shows a level of major enthusiasm and buzz around The Christmas Chronicles, Netflix does leave a few important details out of that number.
The streaming service always holds something back and while The Christmas Chronicles was played on Netflix 20 million times in its first week, we don't know how many of those views were repeat views from the same users. Therefore, 20 million views does not mean that 20 million people have seen The Christmas Chronicles.
Also, 20 million views does not mean that everyone who played The Christmas Chronicles finished it. And while its cool to say that it equates to a $200 million opening week, the reality is that if people actually had to drive to the theater and pay to see this film, versus queuing it up from the comfort of their home on a service they've already paid for. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely it would have made that amount in theaters.
So there are definitely some nuances to Netflix's numbers that make the success of the Kurt Russell film a bit more difficult to gauge. Still, the beauty of streaming services is immediacy, accessibility and buzz. The Christmas Chronicles arrived when people are getting in to the holiday spirit, and the buzz around the film has hit very fast and grown because of how easy it is for Netflix subscribers to check it out.
Just based on the boasting of the numbers we can surmise that The Christmas Chronicles was a hit for Netflix. It definitely makes you wonder if something like Disney's Christmas movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms might have been better suited to a streaming service like Disney's upcoming Disney+ where there is a lower commitment on the part of the consumer.
The Christmas Chronicles is one of several original holiday movies you can check out on Netflix right now and it tells the story of two siblings who try to catch Santa on camera only for their presence on this super cool Santa's sleigh to cause a crash that puts the entire holiday in jeopardy. You can check out the trailer for The Christmas Chronicles in the video below.