‘Glass Onion’, the sensational sequel to ‘Stabs in the Back’, is enjoying well-deserved success on Netflix. In its first weekend it has been placed at number 1 of the most viewed on the platform, and between December 19 and 25 (period in which it was available only the last three days) a total of 82′ has been seen. 1 million hours, according to the company itself. Keep in mind that the film lasts two hours and twenty minutes, but even so, Netflix estimates that we are talking about 35 million households watching the series.
Conclusions: none. We have become accustomed, with Netflix, to receiving audience data (which, of course, we take for granted, although there is no way to verify it) in a format that is not the usual one: the number of hours that the series or movie have been broadcast. . This is a very irregular way of measuring audience and success, since each reproduction does not count individually, but is subject to variables such as the duration of each film or series. At best, what we get are abstractions of the type “this film has had pretty success”.
To put those 82.1 million hours into perspective, the figures for ‘Glass Onion’ are somewhat behind ‘Unforgivable‘, the now forgotten exclusive production of the platform with Sandra Bullock from 2021, but which nevertheless is in the Top 10 of the most watched Netflix movies in the history of the platform. Which suggests that when the month that Netflix uses to quantify the “total” number of hours watched for a product ends, ‘Glass Onion’ will also enter that top. It will do so, possibly, in a comparable position, that is, perhaps below hits like ‘Bird Box’, ‘don’t look up‘ or his current number 1, ‘Red Alert’.
The special case of ‘Glass Onion’. The sequel to ‘daggers in the back‘ has a nature that makes it an especially remarkable product: its very high budget. In 2021 Netflix paid 450 million dollars for the rights to shoot two sequels, and an extra 40 million to produce the first one, this ‘Glass Onion’. That is to say, it has caused the platform to spend a minimum of 265 million dollars, an exorbitant amount for a film that is currently being compared to a little-remembered vehicle for Sandra Bullock.
To this we must add its very brief passage through cinemas: in the United States It was only seen in 600 theaters, much less than usual (although more than any other Netflix release in theaters), and only for one week. The idea was to generate a certain air of “exclusivity” that would enhance the premiere, a couple of weeks later, on the platform. The calculations estimate that it grossed about 15 million dollars during that week, which is very good considering the small number of theaters. A campaign equal to the quality of the film and a standard international premiere could have done well at the box office.
What Netflix wants. Once again: subscribers. This huge investment and this gigantic revenue black hole (remember: two, three viewers can come out of a Netflix subscription, even more if accounts are shared) is because the only thing Netflix is interested in is gaining subscribers. And that air of exclusivity and that advertising campaign that offers a product that can only be obtained through the platform translates into subscribers. But meanwhile, from the outside, everything is question marks.
Because Netflix feeds us with that “number of hours viewed” which, in the abstract, is a meaningless number, it only serves to compare the platform with itself. But since a program can be watched by one person or by several, depending on the household, the really useful figures, those that speak of successes and failures, escape us. The one that we do know is this: 450 million dollars for two sequels to ‘Puñales por la espalda’. How much can the height of the platform rise?
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The figures for ‘Glass Onion’ have been good. The problem is that Netflix could never recover the investment
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