The Irishman is drawing numbers for Netflix, but how many people watched all of it?

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Netflix doesn’t reveal viewer numbers except when it makes them look good and they want to promote something. I feel like this should change, and Netflix says it might. (Maybe that would mean less foreign post-apocalyptic movies so keep doing what you’re doing, Netflix.) Over the weekend I watched the first half of The Irishman with a friend. I promised to wait to watch the second half with him, but I’m not clamoring to see it, either. If it was The Mandalorian I probably wouldn’t save it, you know? It’s a decent movie but it feels very one-note, so far it hasn’t passed the Bechdel test and if I never saw the rest of it I wouldn’t care. Plus it feels so self-indulgent to put out a three and a half hour film, especially when Scorsese is telling people not to watch it on their phones. I’m not mad though because it’s not like I have to sit my ass in a theater to see it. Netflix is the perfect format for this. Netflix says that in one week 26.4 million people watched The Irishman at least 70% of the way through. Really? Do people fast-forwarding it count? Nielsen’s numbers show Netflix’s could be inflated, unsurprisingly, but it’s still getting a lot of viewers:

Netflix has dribbled out some viewing data on Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman”: The epically long mobster film was watched by 26.4 million Netflix households worldwide in the first seven days — to at least 70% completion, according to content chief Ted Sarandos.

In the first 28 days, Netflix expects about 40 million account holders to have watched “The Irishman” at least 70% of the way through, according to Sarandos, speaking Tuesday at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York. The film was released Nov. 27 on Netflix after a limited theatrical run.

Sarandos said the internal Netflix numbers — which can’t be corroborated by a third party — are all the more amazing considering “all the other things you could do on those screens now… And people still choose a relationship with a film… They sit down to watch a three-and-a-half-hour movie.”

Netflix has selectively doled out metrics, and Sarandos’ touting of “The Irishman” viewing comes after Nielsen last week released estimates for U.S. viewers of the movie, pegging 17.1 million unique viewers in the first five days and an average minute audience of 13.2 million viewers over that time frame. According to Nielsen, on the Nov. 27 premiere date, roughly 18% of the total viewers of “The Irishman” watched the movie in its entirety — which, according to the research firm, was on par with the premiere day of thriller “Bird Box” (18%) and greater than “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (11%).

Netflix has selectively doled out metrics, and Sarandos’ touting of “The Irishman” viewing comes after Nielsen last week released estimates for U.S. viewers of the movie, pegging 17.1 million unique viewers in the first five days and an average minute audience of 13.2 million viewers over that time frame. According to Nielsen, on the Nov. 27 premiere date, roughly 18% of the total viewers of “The Irishman” watched the movie in its entirety — which, according to the research firm, was on par with the premiere day of thriller “Bird Box” (18%) and greater than “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (11%).

Netflix plans to start regularly releasing viewing numbers publicly, but “we’re trying to make sure that we’re conditioning the market to what it means,” Sarandos said at the UBS conference. The company’s stats, he said, aren’t comparable to box-office figures or Nielsen ratings points.

Sarandos claimed Scorsese was happy with the viewing numbers for his sprawling mafia pic. According to Netflix, “The Irishman” is drawing smaller crowds than Sandra Bullock’s “Bird Box,” which the company claimed was watched by 45 million members worldwide in its first week and an estimated 80 million in the initial four weeks.

[From Variety]

So 18% of viewers watched it until the end according to Nielsen, which I believe. I’m surprised that Birdbox did better, but that’s more of a blockbuster movie and I think that would have done really well in theaters too. The Irishman has some amazing talent, but it meanders. Also I would rather see different actors play the younger versions of the characters. The digital de-aging is pretty good, but it’s still distracting. This is an Oscar bid for Netflix and it may pay off. Al Pacino should get a nomination for this too! He’s amazing in it. So far he only has one Oscar, for Scent of a Woman, and has been nominated seven other times.

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photos credit: Netflix press

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58 Responses to “The Irishman is drawing numbers for Netflix, but how many people watched all of it?”

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  1. Jerusha says:

    I watched all of it. I found it a bit flat. Scorsese has done better work, mostly in the 70s and 80s. It won’t get a second viewing.

  2. Chica1971 says:

    I tuned out after 15 mins . Unusual because I like all the actors.. just couldn’t get into it.

  3. Dorothy#1 says:

    I watched it all the way through with a mini break in the middle to go pick up take out. We really liked it!

    • Heather says:

      We took mini-breaks along the way, but also watched all of it. It was pretty good; but I’m sure some things could have been cut out.

    • Astrid says:

      We watched all of it with mini-breaks and enjoyed it, mostly because we live near Detroit and recognized some of the areas, so the movie was more personal for us.

  4. TheOtherOne says:

    ITA – The digital de-aging is pretty good, but it’s still distracting. They also still have the bodies and movement of 70-year-old men. The scenes were Robert Deniro had to throw something or run was a bit painful to watch. But, Pachino was great and he deserves a nomination for this.

    • Aims says:

      I’m so glad you said this. We watched it all the way through. Robert looked like an alien. He looked unreal. Plus his eyes were a little demonic. It was distracting.

    • Jamie says:

      I actually laughed when De Niro curbed stomped that guy who insulted his daughter. He moved so slowly. It’s a shame too because that’s the scene that is supposed to make people understand why his daughter thought he was so scary.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Totally agree. The part where De Niro kicks/stomps on another actor – that was definitely an older person playing a much younger person. Of course it wouldn’t look like a 30 or 40 year old doing the same thing – it was just what you said: distracting.

    • Cindy says:

      It was ridiculous! Everytime I watched one of those scenes with my boyfriend we couldn’t help to giggle a little. I imagine all that CGI crap wasn’t cheap to pull off – why couldn’t they just do the usual, hire a younger actor that somewhat resembles the older star and then do some makeup magic to do the trick?

      As others pointed out above – this wasn’t just silly, it actually did take the emotional impact of some scenes away.

      • Eugenie says:

        I agree to all the above. I don’t understand why they didn’t hire younger actors, I think it would’ve been less distracting and easy to watch. But speaking of distracting….. DeNiros blue contacts were ridiculous. It would’ve been better if he would’ve had his natural eye color. I know the main character was Irish and had blue eyes, but it really made him hard to watch

    • Moneypenny says:

      At one point, Joe Pesci calls DeNiro “kid” and I almost spat out my drink. I didn’t even realize they were trying to make him look young. Best case, DeNiro looked to be in his late 50s. I was too distracted by the weird blue contacts.

      It was entertaining and I’m glad I watched it all, but probably wouldn’t watch again.

    • Ramona Q. says:

      Not crazy about seeing all the hanging cattle carcasses. Ugh. Beef is baby animals that want to live and be with their family and friends.

  5. Becks1 says:

    I haven’t seen it yet, but I am definitely more willing to watch it on Netflix than I would have been to see it in a theater. I’m not sitting in a theater for 3.5 hours lol (that includes Marvel movies!) and I do want to see this, so we’ll probably watch it this weekend. I imagine though that we will split it into two viewings.

  6. Joan Callamezzo says:

    I can’t with Scorsese anymore. It’s the same cast of actors, same time frame, same story lines over and over again.

    • k says:

      Same. I thought the movie was awful. I couldn’t finish it. The actors playing the ages they are playing is a joke. Robert Deniro is 76 for god’s sake. The use of women as little more than furniture is a joke; Anna Paquin said, what, 5 words? She’s a Oscar winner. The story is meandering and flat and who cares. It is self indulgent mstrbtn from Scorsese. It is a garbage movie, and I hate it, and I’m angry about it.

      • Lindy says:

        Ugh, I said the same thing to my husband. You hire Anna Paquin and don’t let her talk? Really?!

      • Giddy says:

        ..and I told my husband that if he was going to finish watching it I was going to go read my book. He later said he should have done the same.

    • Cindy says:

      Same, I couldn’t watch it full either, and I couldn’t help to remember all of Marty’s ramblings against Marvel and how they don’t do cinema. Really Marty? You’ve been telling the same story for 3 decades now, with the same actors and everything. It’s like Marty’s movies are a long-running series.

  7. Ariela says:

    “Tony told the old man to tell me to tell you: it’s what it is”.

    I watched the whole of it, but it took me four evenings.

  8. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m fairly certain I won’t be watching. I grew up watching these men act. I’ve seen their best imo, and even though I can appreciate some Scorsese, (that could be a movie title — Some Scorsese), I’m just not interested in these types of movies. I’ve always liked ‘guy’ movies, but these particular men should start doing the geriatric movies, possibly comedies, if they want viewers. It’s time for them to make fun of themselves and their egos which should be shrinking at this point lol.

  9. HK9 says:

    I’m a hard core Scorsese DeNiro fan(seen every movie), and I fell asleep. He’s done better work for sure.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    Not enough Bobby Carnavale.
    Not enough dialogue for women
    A total waste of Anna Paquin.
    Pesci and Pacino are only scenes worth watching

    • raindrop says:

      Agreed. I watched all of it, and wholly agree with your succinct assessment.

      He cast some great actresses and treated them like cardboard cutouts. Plus, the whole film felt like a sad homage to his better earlier work and to other great mob films of the 70s and 80s. Pesci did a great job, he made it far more watchable.

    • Audrey says:

      Excellent review. I watched almost the whole thing but the end dragged out so much, I turned it off with about 15 minutes to go.

  11. Lindy says:

    I watched the whole thing over Thanksgiving weekend, mostly because my film-buff husband and mother-in-law wanted to.

    Honestly, I found it to be dull, turgid, and completely self-indulgent. De Niro was unimpressive and very one-note. Pesci was good, but the movie went on so long that even his good acting ended up feeling repetitive (there are only so many knowing smirks you can handle in 3 hours). Pacino was fine, but it’s a character meant for chewing through the scenery, so he obliged by chewing through scenery.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s because it’s 2019, but my feeling about this is, my god, I’m so bored and tired of privileged white dudes and their sense of entitlement. This movie didn’t need to be made, it’s not remotely novel or interesting, and it’s not worth watching.

  12. Jules says:

    It is incredible. It kept my attention the entire time. Joe Pesci deserves an Oscar for his performance.

  13. Jenns says:

    Looks like I’m in the minority here, but I loved this movie. It started out slow, and the aging thing was weird, but after the first hour, I was intrigued.

    Despite it being a cast of all white men, I have enjoyed watching these actors through the years. So seeing all of them in these roles where they confront aging and life choices was interesting to me. Even if it was really bleak at times.

  14. Amanda says:

    I thought the last hour was really good and different than Scorsese’s other works. But I’m glad that I could watch it in installments.

  15. Cee says:

    My boyfriend’s a film and tv director, and a big Scorsese fan. I love films, too. We got together Friday night, got popcorn and cold beers and sat down to watch it. We had to stop after 1.30 hours (we were very tired and the first hour is very slow) We resumed it the next day and we both agreed the script was a bit messy and overly complicated and could have been achieved in 2.5 hours instead of 3.5
    Pesci, however, was the star. He deserves everything.

  16. PunkyMomma says:

    My retinas are burned. I watched the whole thing because of the Hoffa murder.* The de-aging drove me nuts—none of the leads’ body movements lined up with the age of the character, except when they acted as old men.

    Best part of the movie (guilty pleasure) was Steve Van Zandt playing Jerry Vale. 😘

    * (I’ve eaten at the (now closed) restaurant where Hoffa was last seen. Every so often, the FBI gets another tip on where Hoffa’s remain can be found. They come out to my area, set up there crime scene tents and start digging.)

  17. Lucy says:

    Does Scorsese think he’s brilliant for his 3+ hour movies? To me, it seems more like editing indecisiveness over what scenes & sequences you truly need to move the plot along and which can be left on the cutting room floor. He’s super pleased with his marathon session movies though, like you’re some sort of lesser being if you think it’s too long. Wolf of Wall Street was just as long and some of the sequences were just too dragged out. I haven’t had the motivation or time to start watching the Irishman, and I don’t see why we still need to glamourize white male criminals. Scorsese is clearly enamored with them, whatever he says.

    • Amanda says:

      I think the whole point of this movie was to not glamorize. He’s basically saying they died horrible deaths or died alone without family and forgotten about.

  18. My3cents says:

    I’m guessing 90% of that 18% are critics that had to write a review.

  19. Cindy says:

    This movie felt like a flat Scorcese tribute to me, something that tried to emulate those great mob movies from the 70′s-90′s and just failed at it. “Self indulgent” is the right word, really. Marty thought his cinema is so good and complex we’d all be happy to watch the same story he’s always told for 3.5 hours. Pacino and DeNiro are so, so good we’d rather see ridiculous means of de-aging them instead of just hiring a younger actor.

    Meh. My boyfriend quite liked it, though he says it’s not even half of what any of those men’s work are. I couldn’t finish it and have no intention of doing so.

  20. Lala11_7 says:

    I watched it…to honor the Director and the phenomenal actors…I’ve had more enjoyable dental visits that included scaling/planing…and you would have to pay me cold hard cash to watch it again in this life…or the next…unlike every other movie that Scorsese has directed that I have watched and will watch…a million times….

  21. MellyMel says:

    I plan to watch this (and A Marriage Story) later this week. I’ve loved most of Scorcese’s films (especially The Departed and Goodfellas), so I’m curious about this one as well. It’s gotten mixed reviews from my circle.

  22. shells_bells says:

    “Self indulgent” is exactly the phrase I used to describe it to my SIL. NOBODY needs a movie this long!!! Probably would have worked better as a limited series.

  23. Ye says:

    I watched it all in one sitting. It was fine. Lacked some spice I guess. In general movies based on real events bore me because I know whats going to happen. I knew Hoffa would die, and there wasny much story to that. Here’s Frank the sociopath. Here’s Hoffa. Pow pow. The end.

    The actors were great. But the script was a bit snoozy for me. Completely get that some may love it.

  24. Charfromdarock says:

    I have no desire to watch another movie about old men by an old man.

    • Anne Call says:

      I don’t have a problem with the old part (I love Kominsky Report which has such great old Hollywood actors in it complaining and being funny about aging and families and kids) but I’m sick to death of this particular genre of “gangster guys” and the many many movies that have already been made.

      Marriage story is fabulous. Great story and great acting and it’s got men and women in it and they share the screen equally!

  25. lobstah says:

    I loved it. In this day and age, it’s nice to just enjoy a new, non-rebooted film with some great actors on screen. Why nitpick everything to death? Also, Ray Romano was amazing in this.

  26. Minxx says:

    Sorry, not the greatest Scorsese movie. Felt more like a vanity project and it was 1.5 hrs too long.

  27. Andrea says:

    I was advused not to watch it by a friend. My personal trainer it took him 2 days to finish it and he said it was meh.

  28. HoudiniHarry says:

    I loved it and watched all of the movie in one sitting. I found it captivating and it felt more like a two and a half hour movie to me. The Irishman really drew me in and held my attention the entire time and I wanted to find out what happened in the end, and I didn’t read any reviews before I watched it. I may be in the minority, but I think this might be Scorcese’s best, and DeNiro, Pacino and Pesci were great together. Hoffa’s murder and missing body has always fascinated me as I grew up with this in my life, so the movie was so interesting to me. Again, I loved it and recommended it to my family and friends to watch.

  29. Bella says:

    I could not watch it. It was so boring , but the parts that weren’t boring, were Joe Pesci and Ray Ramona. I can’t believe it was nominated for a Golden Globe. Snooze fest!

  30. Texas says:

    We watched all of it. But I’m tired of that kind of movie. It was good. But dull.

  31. Sorella says:

    We LOVE LOVE LOVE Goodfellas, so my husband and I were both excited fo this but then SO disapointed. I fell asleep and don’t care if I ever see the last half. My husband watched the whole thing and did not enjoy it, found it meandered and was slow.

    I found the CGI-young faces so hard to watch – Deniro especially had an old man body with younger face – so distracting. I love me some Joe Pesci and he was the best thing about it. I cannot believe this movie got a Golden Globe nod – to me that is more about Hollywood’s love for all things Scorcese though.

  32. Case says:

    I’m a Scorsese fan (for the most part — I found Wolf of Wall Street ridiculous even though I like the director and lead actor). I started to watch this the other night and kept finding myself looking at Instagram, lol, but I think I was tired. Going to try it again over the weekend. I’m much more excited to watch Marriage Story at the moment.

    In general, I LOVE that award-nominated films are debuting on Netflix. I try to watch as many Oscar nominees as I can before the ceremony, and this makes it a little easier.

  33. Polly says:

    I like almost all Scorsese’s movies but I found this painfully slow and gave up when I realised I wasn’t even halfway through. No way will I waste my time watching the rest. Pacino was great in it but I feel like Deniro was miscast in this role.

  34. Flying Fish says:

    I fell asleep within the first 20 minutes…
    Tried to watch it gain twice and the same thing happened…

  35. Lena says:

    I hope joe Pesci doesn’t win over Brad Pitt I saw both movies and Brad was really entertaining. The Irishmen wasn’t although I guess Joe was the best thing in it.

  36. Adr1s says:

    I tuned out about 1 hour in. We had some work done in our house and everything was covered in dust, so I was dusting off the bookcase and listening to the movie in the background. From time to time I would actually look back to see the movie but yeah, it’s loooong.

  37. LynneE says:

    Totally totally self indulgent – ugh. Pacino plays Pacino, De Niro plays De Niro, you cannot de-age actors who still move like old men – it takes you out of the (dawdling and not remotely gripping) story *every* time. The only good thing about the movie is Pesci but he can’t carry it on his own. A total waste of epic talent across the board, Anna Pacquin in particular obvs.

  38. MariaS says:

    I didn’t finish it and don’t plan to. Between watching actors play characters they’re far too old to play and the meandering plot, I don’t get the hype at all.