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Netflix’s Top 10 list has given subscribers a great way to engage with content that a lot of other people care about. A lot of times this content ends up being Netflix Originals, movies like Spenser Confidential and Extraction or TV shows such as The Umbrella Academy. Yet, as users look for more traditional films on the platform, the subscription streaming service has kind of been a place for people to find middling or forgotten movies again. This week that means Robert Downey Jr. and Nicolas Cage movies that are around a decade old are finding new life on the streamer.
If you were to peruse Netflix’s Top 10 list right now, you’d find some original content like the fun rom-com Love, Guaranteed and the new season of Lucifer in the Top 10. Regardless, in the midst of that content both the Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifiniakis starrer from Todd Phillips Due Date and the Nicolas Cage and John Cusack-led The Frozen Ground are also in the Top 10.
Both movies have high-profile casts and came out several years ago, with Due Date hitting theaters in 2010 and The Frozen Ground coming out three years later in 2013. Both also have in common that they were not super well-received when they first came out. Neither are bad movies, per se, and both have middling reviews on aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB. One major difference between the two movies is that Due Date was a wider release, The Frozen Ground never really got the chance to shine as it was sent to VOD in most places.
But like a lot of mediocre movies – and in fact despite Due Date making a profit at the box office -- neither were really part of the cultural vernacular until they randomly saw a resurgence on Netflix. It’s something the subscription streaming service has started to be notable for as it has become a little bit clearer about the ways people consume content in a binge-able format. If you are only paying $13 dollars a month for the content and just looking for something random to watch on a Tuesday night, suddenly something like Due Date, which is at the time of this writing a #5 hit on the streaming service, may seem like a pretty good proposition.
And if you haven’t seen The Frozen Ground, the #9 movie is about serial killer Robert Hansen, known as the Butcher Baker. I can absolutely see how it ties into some of Netflix’s other crime genre content, particularly its popular series Mindhunter. The fact that these movies, which may be movies people did not see during their original runs and may in some ways feel like new content, are gaining new light is honestly fascinating to watch.
If I had to hypothesize myself, I would probably have guessed that subscribers were using Netflix to watch old staples in genres like rom-coms or brand-spanking new originals, of course. But it seems that users’ tastes are more varied. They may be looking for more content that is new rather than old hot – even if it’s new to them and not new to the test of time.
As some perennial favorites like Marvel movies or franchises like Harry Potter have shifted to different streaming services, it makes sense that some of the most popular content on Netflix might end up being forgotten movies from the mid-aughts. But it does make me wonder if people will always be happy to settle for good enough.