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Adam Sandler has been making a lot of movies for Netflix over the last few years. Based on the views his latest effort has received, it's clear why Netflix is happy to keep the actor around. People apparently really love his work. According to Netflix, nearly 31 million accounts in North America viewed the new movie Murder Mystery over its first three days this past weekend, which is an opening weekend record for the streaming service.
Netflix doesn't release viewership numbers on a regular basis and there's no data to back up the numbers, so things should be taken with a grain of salt. We only hear the numbers from Netflix when they're really good, and nothing is said if the numbers are less than stellar. Having said that, what attempts are made to back up Netflix numbers usually bear them out, so there's no reason to believe these numbers aren't accurate, or at least somewhere in the ball park.
If 31 million people each spent $9 on a movie ticket, then Murder Mystery would have had a stronger weekend by far than any other film had this past week. Of course, it's not exactly the same thing. There's no guarantee nearly as many people would have gone to a theater to see Murder Mystery. The power of the "Play" button is strong, and the fact that millions who were already Netflix subscribers simply had to tap a button surely went a long way in getting record numbers of people to watch the movie.
I reviewed Murder Mystery and I was utterly unimpressed by it. Having said that, I've seen a lot of comments on social media from people who thought the movie was funny, or at the very least thought it was a pleasant distraction, so clearly a lot of people at the very least didn't feel like the movie was a waste of time.
I'm not sure anybody was expecting a new cinema classic. At the end of the day, the goal of original programming is simply to convince current subscribers that they need to keep their subscription, while also convincing others that they need to subscribe. Murder Mystery may not be a movie that drives people to sign up if they haven't already, but combined with everything else that you need Netflix to see, it might push some over the edge.
It will be interesting to see if Murder Mystery continues to rake in the views. If Netflix tells us that it did, then it will be because the movie has continued to be strong. If Netflix starts to get quiet on the topic then I suppose that means that viewership has fallen off.