It’s only the first week of December and Netflix is already having a very merry Christmas.
The streaming giant has revealed that Kurt Russell’s holiday adventure movie The Christmas Chronicles racked up 20 million views in its first week – a number that will only continue to climb during the festive period.
Netflix very rarely reports audience figures for its original TV shows and films, so this announcement is a rare insight into viewing behaviour. It also explains why it makes total business sense for the on-demand service to keep churning out Christmas movies like The Princess Switch, The Holiday Calendar and A Christmas Prince.
The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, premiered on Netflix globally on 22nd November 2018. It follows the story of a brother and sister living in Massachusetts who must save Christmas after they cause Santa’s sleigh to crash-land.
Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos argued that The Christmas Chronicles’ 20 million streams had the “most impact” of any of Kurt Russell’s movies throughout his impressive career.
Kurt Russell stars as Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix)
According to Business Insider, Sarandos told listeners: “Even in his successful career, [Kurt Russell] has never had that many people see one of his movies in the first week ever. That’s a testimony to what we can bring to the market for storytellers today that we couldn’t have ten years ago.”
The Netflix executive also estimated that, if the movie had received the traditional cinema release, those viewing numbers would translate to a first week box office of $200 million.
“Even movies that go on to $1 billion don’t typically do that in the first week,” he said.
By comparison, Russell’s recent movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made $183 million in its first week.