Unpacking Netflix's "Bird Box" Numbers

The fright flick has spawned the internet sensation known as the #BirdBoxChallenge with some people poking fun at the film


On Friday, Netflix announced that Bird Box is officially its most-watched original movie with a staggering 45,037,125 accounts having watched the film in its first week on the service.

Another factor that keeps the views on a Netflix original from being compared to the box office receipts of a major blockbuster is the fact that people do not have to make the same effort to see the Netflix film as those in the theater. Wisely debuted in the thick of the holiday season, Bird Box wracked up more than 45 million views within a week, according to Netflix, and if you're one of the folks who settled in for a scare over the break, then you're probably eager to dig into the film, spoilers and all! Netflix says there's a pretty good chance that you have.

It's an impressive figure, certainly, but one that also requires a "Star Wars" scroll-worth of disclaimers, qualifiers and questions - several of them immediately posed by journalists and TV industry rivals, who have been frustrated by the streaming giant's unwillingness to divulge such information. Since its premiere on December 21, the original drama has been viewed by over 45 million accounts, the company reports. With couples or friends watching together, and some consumers sharing accounts, the actual viewership number was actually much higher.

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Bird Box is now streaming on Netflix.

"As a mum, you think those [worst] thoughts, it's just part of your makeup", she recently told Variety. But it's also important to note that Netflix is counting by accounts. Nobody else can verify Netflix's claims, nor do they know exactly what "watched" means in this context. "When an account is counted, it 'may include multiple views and viewers but is only counted once'". Plenty of folks share Netflix accounts, so some of those Bird Box viewings may be by more than one person at once.

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