Early viewing estimates for Netflix’s Bright have been released by Nielsen, which claims 11 million U.S. subscribers streamed the fantasy-action flick starring Will Smith in the first three days after the film was released. The numbers are likely to make executives at Netflix smile after the service’s first foray into big-budget filmmaking – the film reportedly cost between $90-$100 million dollars – was walloped by critics, even earning the toxic “worst film of the year” moniker in at least one case, marking another critical low point in director David Ayer’s body of work after garnering mostly negative reviews for Suicide Squad.
Yet, unsurprisingly, the film has managed to earn positive marks from fans, furthering the divide between audiences and critics. And with the numbers released by Nielsen, it appears Bright could well be on its way to being a divisive hit for Netflix, one that will bring 2017 to an end on a high note for the company.
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Despite revealing a small portion of its ratings by taking a joking but still ill-advised social media swipe at repeat viewers of A Christmas Prince, Netflix remains resolutely guarded when it comes to revealing its viewership numbers. The practice has been a source of frustration to some in the industry, even earning criticism from actors like Adam Pally, who in 2015 derided the company’s choice not to disclose numbers, calling it a “way to prevent creative entities from knowing their true worth.” But now that Nielsen has begun tracking subscription and On Demand metrics, it seems those outside the Netflix inner circle will have a better idea of who’s watching what.
Nielsen reporting its findings on Bright appears to have wound up working in Neftlix’s favor, as eleven million viewers in three days is nothing to sneeze at. Additionally, according to Variety, Neilsen reports that Bright added somewhere in the neighborhood of seven million more viewers around the holiday, all of which pushed the movie ahead of The Crown season 2, the services’ expensive period drama that premiered earlier in the month.
Whether or not that means Bright is a hit may be a question best answered by what Netflix does next. Not long after the film was released, the streaming service announced a sequel had already been greenlit with Will Smith set to reprise his role as LAPD officer Scott Ward. So, if that is the metric by which we evaluate the success of the film, it would seem Bright, despite its critical drubbing, may be a hit after all.
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Bright is currently streaming on Netflix.